ST. LOUIS -- Jason Marquis pitched seven sharp innings and hit a two-run double to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders homered for the Cardinals, who have won 12 of 15 to move a season-best 11 games above .500.
The AL West-leading Athletics were 18-0 against the NL Central before losing the first two games of a three-game interleague series. They averaged more than 10 runs per game during an eight-game winning streak that ended Tuesday.
Jermaine Dye and Scott Hatteberg hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth for the Athletics, who have lost seven of eight on the road.
Sanders' three-run shot off Arthur Rhodes with two outs in the eighth made it a four-run cushion. Rhodes wanted a called strike on the previous pitch, on a 2-2 count, and was ejected by plate umpire Bruce Dreckman for arguing while Sanders rounded the bases.
Marquis (6-4), who skipped his last start due to back soreness, held the Athletics to two runs on five hits in seven innings. Before the homers, he retired 14 of 15 batters, and he won his third straight outing.
Kiko Calero got six outs for his first save.
Edmonds hit his 14th homer to left-center on an 0-2 pitch from Rich Harden (3-4) in the second, and Marquis' opposite-field double with two outs made it 3-0.
Marquis is batting .241 (7-for-29) with five RBIs.
Harden lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks, losing for the first time since May 18. Four of the hits came in the third; otherwise the Cardinals had no runners in scoring position the first six innings.
St. Louis shortstop Edgar Renteria had two singles and is 8-for-15 in his last four games.
Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny is ready to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday and likely will be activated that day, forcing the team into a decision.
Yadier Molina, a 21-year-old rookie who's considered the Cardinals' catcher of the future, has played well both offensively and defensively as the regular while Matheny has been out. But the Cardinals might want Molina to play regularly at Triple-A Memphis.
Cardinals reliever Mike Lincoln, who's been on the 15-day disabled list since May 4 with an elbow strain, will begin a throwing program today in hopes of avoiding a season-ending surgery. The decision was reached after Lincoln underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday.