ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Jason Motte was telling reporters on the field before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday that he was ready for duty, even after a two-inning save the night before.
It helped that Motte needed only 19 pitches, 16 strikes, to dispatch the Giants over the final two innings of the Cardinals' 3-1 win.
"Good to go," Motte said.
That's what efficiency will do for a pitcher. Since 2000, only three relievers had recorded a six-out postseason save with fewer pitches than Motte's 19. The Cardinals' Steve Kline threw 18 pitches in Game 2 of the 2001 NL Division Series, the Red Sox's Jonathan Papelbon threw 16 pitches in Game 7 of the 2007 American League Championship Series and the D-backs' Byung-Hyun Kim threw only 15 pitches in Game 4 of the 2001 NLCS.
Kim's outing, like Motte's, was six-up, six-down. According to Elias, those are the only two "perfect" saves of two or more innings in the postseason since 1989 by someone other than Yankees great Mariano Rivera. Rivera has five such saves on his resume.
It was also Motte's eighth career postseason save, tying Jason Isringhausen's Cardinals record.
Craig: Move to right field 'not a big deal'
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' Allen Craig shagged flies in right field during batting practice on Thursday, a sort of crash course before his first start at that position in six weeks.
Craig had been manning first base since his last start in right field on Sept. 4, but he was needed in the outfield for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series because of Carlos Beltran's left knee injury. Beltran was limited to pinch-hit duties in Game 4.
"I just have to go out there and trust my instincts," Craig said. "I've got some experience out there. You just play the game. It's no big deal."
Craig mostly played first base this season because of Lance Berkman's injury issues, but Craig did appear in 23 games in right field, including 21 starts. He's played 112 regular-season games as an outfielder, plus 10 games during the Cardinals' 2011 championship run. It was Craig, in left field, who squeezed the final out of Game 7 of the World Series.
In other words, this was not foreign territory.
"I haven't been out there in a while, but it's not a big deal," he said.