ST. LOUIS -- J.D. Drew homered for the third consecutive game and Matt Morris rebounded from two shaky starts, leading the Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 9-1 Thursday night.
The NL Central champions won their fifth in a row to stay ahead of Arizona in the race for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
St. Louis has won nine of 10 and 19 of 22. The Cardinals are an NL-best 19-5 in September.
On the brink of tying the major league record for strikeouts in a season, Milwaukee's Jose Hernandez was held out of the lineup -- and he might not play the rest of the year.
Brewers manager Jerry Royster kept Hernandez out, saying all the media attention surrounding the dubious record "is kind of making a mockery of it."
Hernandez has struck out 188 times this season, one shy of the mark set by Bobby Bonds in 1970.
Eli Marrero hit a two-run homer for St. Louis, which opened a five-run lead against rookie right-hander Ben Diggins (0-4) after two innings.
Edgar Renteria added a two-out, two-run double in the fifth, and pinch-hitter Wilson Delgado hit a solo homer in the eighth.
Morris (17-9) went seven innings, giving up six hits while striking out four and walking one. He had lost his previous two starts, allowing 11 runs -- nine earned -- and 18 hits over 9 2/3 innings.
Drew's two-out, two-run homer in the first, his 18th, gave him eight RBIs in his past five games.
Drew hit a three-run shot off 23-game winner Curt Schilling in Wednesday's 6-1 victory that closed out St. Louis' three-game sweep of Arizona, a day after Drew had a solo shot.
In the second, Renteria walked, stole second and advanced to third on Mike Matheny's infield single to Brewers shortstop Bill Hall. But when Hall held onto the ball, Renteria alertly raced home from third.
Later that inning, Fernando Vina's RBI single was followed by Marrero's home run, his 18th, to left field.
Milwaukee's Eric Young sent the game's first pitch to the center-field fence for a double and scored on Lenny Harris' sacrifice fly.
Diggins lasted four innings, giving up six runs on six hits.
The loss came a day after the Brewers replaced team president Wendy Selig-Prieb and general manager Dean Taylor. Milwaukee (55-104) has lost more than 100 games for the first time in franchise history.
The Brewers have dropped 53 games on the road, most for the franchise since joining the National League in 1998. They are two road losses from tying the club record set in 1970.