Luis Cruz hit a three-run home run, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night at Busch Stadium. The Dodgers won their fifth straight contest, and also homered in the fifth straight game for the first time all season.
Cruz backed Chad Billingsley, who returned from the disabled list to pitch six strong innings, striking out four while walking one. Billingsley snapped a five-start losing streak that was his career worst.
Cruz has started 16 of 17 games since getting promoted on July 2, and has eight extra base hits while filling in for the injured Dee Gordon at shortstop.
The Dodgers added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh when Mark Ellis doubled home two, widening the Dodgers' lead to 5-1. Those insurance runs proved quite useful when Carlos Beltran hit a two-run home run off Ronald Belisario in the eighth inning to but the lead to two runs.
Kenley Jansen struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for his 19th save.
The Dodgers have beaten the Cardinals eight straight times, dating back to last season, tying their longest streak over St. Louis since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers in the second game of the series on Tuesday night, facing Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals in a battle of aces.
For more on the Dodgers, check out True Blue LA. For all the latest on the Cardinals, be sure to read than Viva El Birdos and SB Nation St. Louis.