Righthander Joe Kelly unearthed from the depths of middle relief already had signaled an end to one long streak when he halted the Cardinals’ recent seven-game slide by beating the Pirates in Pittsburgh last week. But Tuesday night he snapped a doozy.

The steam-rolling Los Angeles Dodgers were one game away from tying the 1912 Washington Senators for the second-longest road winning streak at 16 which would be one off the record held by the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1916 New York Giants. The Dodgers had perhaps baseball’s best pitcher on the mound in Clayton Kershaw who leads big-league hurlers in half a dozen categories.

But Kelly beat Kershaw 5-1 before a paid crowd of 41770 at Busch Stadium. Oh he had plenty of help in the form of five relievers. The Cardinals’ defense pulled off four double plays including one induced by the redoubtable Seth Maness. Center fielder Jon Jay turned in an exceptional play as did catcher Tony Cruz and those two along with shortstop Pete Kozma helped produce the Cardinals’ first two runs in the fifth breaking a scoreless tie.

The punctuation came in the eighth when Carlos Beltran homer-less since June 30 ended that streak with a one-out shot off reliever Brandon League and then Matt Adams hitting his third pinch homer piled on with a two-run shot (No. 9) when he seized upon a League split-fingered pitch that didn’t drop.

Referring to a controversy stemming from Monday’s game in which Beltran bunted on his own manager Mike Matheny joked “I told him to bunt. He didn’t listen today.”

Beltran said “What happened yesterday is in the past. Sometimes as the second hitter (in the lineup) I get caught thinking about situations. Today I never got caught up in a situation where I thought about doing something.”

This marked the 13th time in Kershaw’s 24 starts that his team had scored two or fewer runs for him explaining why he is only 10-7 despite an earned run average of 1.91.

Kelly (3-3) has lowered his ERA to 2.98 and wedged his way firmly in the rotation it would seem.

“Joe needed to come up big for us and that’s exactly what he did” said Matheny.

With one out in the fifth Jay who had been nothing for four with three strikeouts against Kershaw sliced a double just fair inside the third-base line. Cruz hitting .429 with men in scoring position scorched a single to produce the first run of the game.

Until Yadier Molina went out for at least 15 days with a right knee sprain Cruz had started just 13 games. “It’s amazing he’s stayed as sharp as he has offensively with the limited at-bats he’s had” Matheny said.

Kozma four for five against Kershaw this season doubled inside third with Cruz stopping at third.

Asked to explain his rather singular success against Kershaw Kozma hitting 564 points higher against Kershaw than his average for the season said “I just know he’s going to throw strikes. Whatever he’s going to throw he’s going to come at you.”

Kelly gave himself a little cushion by grounding to second baseman Mark Ellis with Cruz breaking immediately upon contact sprinting home with the second run as Ellis looked toward home and then took the out at first.

Matheny credited aggressive third-base coach Jose Oquendo for getting Cruz started. “Oquendo’s really good about pushing (runners) beyond comfortable where you feel like you’re in no man’s land. I don’t think people realize how tough a play that was how big a jump he had to have to score on that” said Matheny.

Or as Kozma said “He’s not as slow as you think. I don’t think he’s slow at all.”