(Monday, July 23rd)
Final Score: Los Angeles 5, St. Louis 3
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Luis Cruz hit a three-run home run to help the Los Angeles Dodgers take a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series.
Mark Ellis hit a two-run double for the Dodgers, who have won five straight. Chad Billingsley (5-9) pitched six innings of one-run ball, also giving up seven hits and a walk while striking out four to snap a five-start losing streak.
"Chad was pretty good tonight and got out of trouble when he did get into some," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He was able to get some outs on the first batter and did a good job tonight."
Carlos Beltran clubbed a two-run homer while Jon Jay went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Cardinals, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Cubs. Joe Kelly (1-3) dropped his third straight decision after giving up three runs on four hits over six innings.
"I want to go back out there every time and try to keep the game close," said Kelly. "If I make some mistakes I don't hang my head, I just try to do my best to get out of it."
St. Louis took the initial lead of the game in the first inning. With one out, Jay doubled to right and Matt Holliday walked. After Beltran struck out, Lance Berkman singled to right to score Jay for a 1-0 lead.
The lead did not last, though, as the Dodgers answered in the second. Andre Ethier reached base on an error by Berkman and Adam Kennedy later singled. Cruz then belted a pitch over the wall in left for his second career home run.
The score stayed that way until the seventh when the Dodgers padded their advantage. A.J. Ellis singled with one out and Tony Gwynn, Jr. followed with a single. After Bobby Abreu struck out, Victor Marte took the mound and gave up a double to Ellis that scored both runners for a 5-1 advantage.
The runs proved necessary as Beltran knocked a pitch over the wall in right- center with Jay on base for his 22nd homer of the season to make it a 5-3 game.
Kenley Jansen, though, set the Cardinals down in order in the ninth, getting Daniel Descalso to look at strike three for his 19th save of the season.
The Dodgers have won eight straight games against the Cardinals, including a three-game sweep in LA in mid-May...Billingsley, who was making his first start after a brief stint on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, improved to 2-3 in 10 games (nine starts) against the Cardinals...St. Louis batted just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.
07/24 00:52:44 ET