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 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.