ST. LOUIS -- With manager Mike Matheny having already called upon four relievers and trying to stay away from his other late-inning trio in a game already out of reach, he turned to infielder Daniel Descalso to close out the top of the ninth in the Cardinals' 17-5 loss to the Cubs on Monday night.
Matheny had Randy Choate face eight batters before he made a mound visit to ask the veteran reliever whether he wanted one more chance at getting that third out. Choate asked for the extension, but after allowing an RBI single, Matheny made the move to Descalso anyway.
At that point, Choate had thrown 35 pitches.
"Descalso knew kind of where it was headed, so he was ready," said Matheny, who went on to describe it as an embarrassing move to make.
Descalso, who said he last pitched in high school, came in to face Mike Olt and retired him on his second pitch, which registered at 85 mph on the radar gun. Olt had already homered and singled in the game.
"You don't want to lose an at-bat," said Olt, who noted that he struck out the last time he faced a position-player-turned-emergency pitcher. "You want to keep the same mentality. I definitely went in there as if it was another pitcher."
Descalso, focused on the team's overall disappointing night, did not want to elaborate on his pitching debut afterward.
"They asked me to go get an out, throw strikes," Descalso said. "We got [beat bad] tonight. It's never a good feeling."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less