|L.A. Dodgers (53-44) «||0||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||5||7||0|
|St. Louis (50-46)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||3||9||1|
ST. LOUIS -- Chad Billingsley strode to the mound feeling like a winner.
Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander was stuck on a five-start losing streak for a couple extra weeks while sidelined with elbow inflammation, he said there was no stewing before taming the St. Louis Cardinals for six innings in a 5-3 victory Monday night.
"I don't even think about that," Billingsley said. "Your mindset is always getting ready for the next start, the next time you're out there."
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Billingsley (5-9) didn't seem to mind the 101-degree heat, changing a soaked jersey once to cope. He struggled with fastball control but was happy with all of his off-speed stuff.
"I like throwing in this," Billingsley said. "I mean, you stay loose and you get a good sweat going. Good old St. Louis, that humidity."
Luis Cruz powered the Dodgers' fifth consecutive victory with a three-run homer in the second. Cruz, recalled July 2 to replaced injured shortstop Dee Gordon, has two career home runs and 12 RBI. Eight of his 14 hits are for extra bases.
The drive estimated at 372 feet barely cleared the left-field wall -- the ball conked left fielder Matt Holliday on the rebound -- to give the Dodgers the early jump in their eighth consecutive victory against St. Louis dating to April 17, 2011.
"I don't really look at him as a power hitter but when he hits it, it stays hit," manager Don Mattingly said. "This is no little Punch and Judy. He gets it, it's going to go."
Rookie Joe Kelly (1-3) said he gave Cruz a fat pitch to hit.
"Terrible slider, especially after fastball up, fastball up," Kelly said. "He put a good swing on it. It was just a cement mixer."
Kenley Jansen struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 24 chances. The Dodgers also won eight in a row against St. Louis from 1975-76, their best streak in the series since moving to Los Angeles.
Carlos Beltran hit a home run for the second successive game with a two-run shot in the eighth for the Cardinals, hitting his 22nd of the year off Ronald Belisario. But St. Louis was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, failing to build on a three-game sweep of the Cubs in which it outscored Chicago 23-1.
Mark Ellis added a two-run double in the seventh off Victor Marte, the third reliever the Cardinals used in the inning in an effort to keep it close. Tony Gwynn Jr. contributed a pinch-hit single and scored, making him 8 for 16 with five RBI in that role.
Kelly allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings, and had a tougher day from a physical standpoint. He contributed to Ellis' double-play ball the second at-bat of the game by deflecting a high chopper with the ring finger of his pitching hand, prompting a visit from team trainers and a brief delay to make sure he could still pitch.
"I felt like I got stung by a bee," Kelly said. "Just numb for a little bit."
Kelly got a second visit from the trainer after beating out an infield hit in the fifth, then stumbling over the bag and sprawling to the ground. Earlier in the at-bat, Kelly barely missed a home run on a ball that replays indicated was less than a foot outside the foul pole in left.
Billingsley allowed a run and four hits in six innings to win for the first time since June 10 at Seattle and end a skid that matched his career worst. In the five starts he made before going on the DL, the right-hander had a 6.21 ERA while allowing 41 hits in 29 innings.
Mattingly said the Dodgers were hoping Billingsley would last six innings.
"I think Chad just got enough big outs and was using enough of his pitches, throwing enough strikes," the manager said. "We weren't going to try to get anymore tonight, for sure."
The Dodgers trailed for the first time in four games during a 10-game trip after Jon Jay doubled for his fifth consecutive hit with one out in the first and scored on Lance Berkman's two-out single. Jay also singled to start the eighth and scored on Beltran's home run, which tied him with the Diamondbacks' Jason Kubel for the NL RBI lead with 71 apiece.
Cardinals 3B David Freese, who is 0 for 6 with six strikeouts against Billingsley, was not in the lineup. ... The Dodgers have 14 home runs in the past 18 games. ... Kelly has two hits, both infield singles. He worked Billingsley for a 10-pitch at-bat but grounded out in the second. ... Holliday doubled and walked and has an extra-base hit in four consecutive games. In his past 16 home games, he's batting .491 (28 for 57). ... Jay had his first multihit game since May 2.
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Bobby Abreu, LF||2||0||0||0||2||1||2||.244|
|Jamey Wright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|James Loney, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||0||1||2||0||0||1||.269|
|Matt Kemp, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.358|
|Andre Ethier, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.294|
|Juan Rivera, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.256|
|Ronald Belisario, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kenley Jansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Adam Kennedy, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.245|
|Luis Cruz, SS||4||1||1||3||0||0||1||.241|
|A.J. Ellis, C||4||1||1||0||0||2||0||.278|
|Chad Billingsley, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|a- Tony Gwynn Jr., PH-LF||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.243|
|a-singled for Billingsley in the 7th|
|2B - Mark Ellis (6, Marte), Andre Ethier (25, Kelly)|
|HR - Luis Cruz (2, Kelly)|
|RBI - Mark Ellis 2 (13), Luis Cruz 3 (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mark Ellis 2 (7)|
|CS - Bobby Abreu (2, 2nd base by Kelly/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Ellis-L. Cruz-J. Rivera|
|PB - A.J. Ellis (9)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Chad Billingsley (W,5-9)||6||7||1||1||1||4||0||4.15|
|Kenley Jansen (S,19)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.93|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chad Billingsley 100-60, Jamey Wright 14-9, Ronald Belisario 13-6, Kenley Jansen 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Billingsley 8-5, Jamey Wright 1-2, Kenley Jansen 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Chad Billingsley 25, Jamey Wright 4, Ronald Belisario 4, Kenley Jansen 3|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.276|
|Jon Jay, CF||4||2||2||0||0||1||1||.309|
|Matt Holliday, LF||3||0||1||0||1||0||2||.321|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||4||1||1||2||0||2||3||.291|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.281|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.309|
|Skip Schumaker, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.314|
|Victor Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Trevor Rosenthal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Allen Craig, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.303|
|Matt Carpenter, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.281|
|Joe Kelly, P||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.154|
|Fernando Salas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Barret Browning, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.228|
|a-struck out for Rosenthal in the 9th|
|2B - Jon Jay (9, Billingsley), Matt Holliday (25, Billingsley)|
|HR - Carlos Beltran (22, Belisario)|
|RBI - Carlos Beltran 2 (71), Lance Berkman (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (3)|
|SB - Matt Carpenter (1, 2nd base off Billingsley/Ellis)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Kelly-Furcal-Berkman|
|E - Lance Berkman (3, Misplayed grounder)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Joe Kelly (L,1-3)||6||4||3||2||3||1||1||2.78|
|WP - Joe Kelly (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kelly 95-61, Fernando Salas 9-6, Barret Browning 6-4, Victor Marte 6-5, Trevor Rosenthal 28-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kelly 10-6, Trevor Rosenthal 2-3|
|Batters Faced - Joe Kelly 24, Fernando Salas 2, Barret Browning 2, Victor Marte 2, Trevor Rosenthal 6|
|Attendance - 42806|
|Game Time - 3:06|
|Temperature - 103|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - D.J. Reyburn, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Eric Cooper|