ST. LOUIS -- Keith Butler began Friday in Midland, Texas, ended the day in St. Louis and found himself jogging to the mound at Busch Stadium by Saturday afternoon. A day after being in uniform for his first big league game, the 24-year-old Butler kicked off his Major League career with a scoreless appearance in the Cardinals' 8-0 win over the Giants.
Butler said he began to think Saturday would present an opportunity for him to pitch once the Cardinals jumped on Giants starter Matt Cain in the third inning. He later watched Victor Marte warm up, hoping the next phone call to the bullpen would include his name. It did.
"I said, 'All right, just go out and treat it the same as any other outing,'" Butler said. "It wasn't really much different running out there. But when I got to the mound, I did a turnaround to take it in a little bit. It was by far the best feeling ever."
Butler, now the fifth Cardinals pitcher to make his debut this season, allowed a leadoff walk before notching his first strikeout. The ball was thrown to the dugout to be presented to Butler after the game. After giving up a hit, Butler closed the inning to seal the Cardinals' Major League best ninth shutout of the season.
He did it in front of his parents, too, who had traveled from their home in Kentucky to be in the stands.
"When the two outs happened and everybody stood up and started cheering, I can't explain that. That was absolutely amazing," Butler said. "It's been crazy. After traveling on the plane to St. Louis, it started sinking in more and more. And once I was running out to the pitcher's mound, it really dug in right there."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.