Carlos Beltran and his St. Louis teammates weren’t focused on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ road winning streak.
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They were just trying to continue their own hot play of late.
That plan worked to perfection as Beltran and Matt Adams homered in the eighth inning to help the Cardinals snap the Dodgers’ 15-game road run with a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.
"We weren’t thinking about them, we were thinking about us and what we’re capable of doing," Beltran said. "It works better if you just worry about yourself."
Joe Kelly went 5 1/3 innings, outperforming Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw and helping St. Louis to its fourth victory in the last six games. Tony Cruz added an RBI single.
The Dodgers’ road winning streak was a franchise record. Their previous loss away from Chavez Ravine was a 4-2 decision at San Francisco on July 6.
"This just means we’ve got to start a new one tomorrow," Kershaw said. "It was a pretty cool thing, for sure. It’s definitely not something to take lightly."
Adrian Gonzalez hit a one-out RBI single off Kelly (3-3) in the sixth, but that was it for Los Angeles against Kelly. He left with runners on first and second and the Cardinals nursing a 2-1 lead.
"Kershaw is a stud, but I was just trying to be the same guy I have been," Kelly said. "Working my tail off and battling those guys."
Kelly improved to 3-0 in five starts since rejoining the starting rotation on July 6. He was working on a scoreless streak of 20 innings before the Dodgers scored in the sixth. Kelly allowed six hits while lowering his ERA to 2.98. The 20-inning scoreless string is the longest by a St. Louis pitcher his season.
"We needed him to come up big for us and that’s exactly what he did," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He used both sides of the plate and his change-up was sharp. He couldn’t have done much more than what he did."
Even Kershaw was impressed with Kelly’s effort.
"He made pitches when he had to and he got a lot of double-play balls," Kershaw said.
The Dodgers had runners on in seven innings but failed to come up with the key hit. St. Louis recorded four double plays, all over the first six innings.
"It was one of those games that was a one-run game and we had a couple chances with men in scoring position," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "We didn’t take advantage in those spots. Those are the kind of runs that you can’t give away."
The Dodgers’ biggest opportunity came in the sixth. They closed to within 2-1 and loaded the bases with one away. But St. Louis reliever Seth Maness got A.J. Ellis to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
The Cardinals then grabbed control in the eighth. Beltran hit his 20th homer for a 3-1 lead. Matt Holliday then walked before Adams connected for his third pinch-hit drive of the season.
"Every time you contribute to help the team score, it feels good," Beltran said. "This was a good team win."
Kershaw (10-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings for Los Angeles, which dropped to 15-3 since the All-Star break. The left-hander is 5-2 with a sparkling 1.62 ERA over his last eight starts.
Cruz helped the Cardinals take the lead in the sixth. He singled in Jon Jay, then moved to third on Pete Kozma’s double. He came home on Kelly’s bouncer to second, lifting St. Louis to a 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals used six pitchers.
"It was a big bullpen day," Kelly said. "I just happened to get the ball to start the game off."
The Dodgers came up two wins short of tying the major league single-season mark of 17 straight road wins for the Detroit Tigers from April 3-May 24, 1984, and New York Giants from May 9-29, 1916. The two-season mark is 21 in a row by Detroit from Sept. 18, 1983 to May 24, 1984.
NOTES: St. Louis-based rapper Nelly took batting practice before the game. He also threw out the ceremonial first pitch from the rubber on his bobblehead night. "I was glad that I just didn’t totally bounce the ball," he said. "It hit the dirt a little, but it was there. Just a little low and outside." … Los Angeles is 32-8 in its last 40 games. … The Cardinals scored in the first inning in their previous four games before coming up empty on Tuesday. … Beltran did not hit a home run in July, the first month he has gone without a round-tripper since September 1998, his first month in the league.