- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - After stumbling in his first start following three months on the disabled list, Joe Kelly tinkered with his mechanics.

Kelly bounced back with seven strong innings and Matt Adams homered in a four-run first as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Saturday to send All-Star Zack Greinke to losses in consecutive regular-season starts for the first time in nearly four years.

Kelly (2-1) gave up four hits over seven innings, retiring his last 13 batters as the Cardinals won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Kelly didn’t get a decision on July 11 in his return from a strained left hamstring, when he gave up six runs over three innings during the Cardinals’ 7-6 win at Milwaukee. After winning for the first time since April 5, he wouldn’t detail his changes.

“I did a lot of stuff different, but I’m not going to give it away,” he said. “If you watch the video, you can probably tell.”

Kelly induced 12 groundouts and got out of trouble with double plays in each of the first two innings.

“I was just trying to mix up pitches and hide stuff better,” he said.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was impressed with Kelly’s ability to keep the ball down.

“I thought it was one of his better pitching performances,” Matheny said. “There were times when I even thought his changeup was a breaking ball. It has so much depth to it. So his secondary pitches were on.”

The Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez thought Kelly had great pitch location.

“He didn’t throw any balls in the middle of the plate,” he said. “He kept throwing his fastballs right on the corner. There weren’t any pitches to drive.”

Trevor Rosenthal, the Cardinals’ third reliever, got his 30th save in 34 chances when Andre Either grounded into a game-ending double play.

Coming off a July 9 defeat at Detroit, Greinke (11-6) walked a season-high five and gave up four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He had not lost back-to-back starts in the regular season since Sept. 20 and 25, 2010, for Kansas City at Detroit and Cleveland, according to STATS.

Greinke did lose his regular-season finale against Colorado last year and was beaten by Atlanta in his first postseason start.

“Too many mistakes in one inning,” Greinke said. “I’ve been doing that too much lately, getting behind in a game too early. I need to find a way to be better right from the get-go.”

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