Kris Bryant had three hits, including his 27th homer, and the Chicago Cubs overcame the ejections of John Lackey and Willson Contreras on their way to an 8-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

Bryant went deep in the fourth and singled twice in Chicago's seven-run sixth, helping the NL Central leaders open a big weekend series on a winning note. The Cubs moved four games ahead of St. Louis.

Lackey and Contreras were thrown out with Chicago trailing 2-1 in the fifth. But after outscoring the New York Mets 39-14 in a three-game sweep, the Cubs got enough big hits to improve to 9-4 against the Cardinals this year.