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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers 5, St. Louis 3

July 23, 2012 at 11:35 PM

ST. LOUIS, July 23 (UPI) -- Luis Cruz backed Chad Billingsley's strong start with a three-run homer Monday and the Los Angeles Dodgers posted a 5-3 victory over St. Louis.

Cruz's blast in the second inning scored Andre Ethier and Adam Kennedy ahead of him and erased a 1-0 deficit.

Mark Ellis chipped in with a two-run double in the seventh to add some insurance for the Dodgers, who entered the contest 1 1/2 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

Billingsley (5-9) broke a personal five-start losing streak, holding the Cardinals to one run on seven hits over six innings.

Kenley Jansen picked up his 19th save as Los Angeles won the first of a four-game series.

Cards starter Joe Kelly (1-3) absorbed the loss, surrendering three runs (two earned) on four hits over six frames.

Carlos Beltran supplied a two-run homer for St. Louis.

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