“Any time somebody’s throwing 99, 100 miles per hour, that’s not going to be an easy at-bat,” Descalso said.
He issued a two-out walk, but struck out Angel Pagan to close the inning. That brought on Edward Mujica, acquired in a deadline deal with Florida that went somewhat unnoticed.
“It should make a lot of noise,” Descalso said. “That was the only acquisition we made at the deadline. He’s come in and he pitched almost every day for us since he’s been over here, and he’s been outstanding.”
Sunday, he faced the Giants’ Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters — Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. He struck them all out swinging.
“Right now, we’re just being like a pretty strong bullpen,” said Mujica, who was credited with the victory. “They give the ball to us, and they have confidence. I have big confidence right now in the seventh inning.”
That set up the eighth and ninth exactly as the Cardinals want it. Mitchell Boggs pitched the eighth flawlessly. He turned it over to closer Jason Motte, who pitched the final two innings of Game 5 in Washington. Motte allowed a two-out single to Pagan, but retired Scutaro to end it. In all, the Cardinals’ relievers faced 20 batters and retired 16, with no extra-base hits.
“All you want to do is help out,” Rosenthal said.
They are, for now, more than helping out. They are dominating, and they are a significant reason not only why the Cardinals lead this series, but why they’re here in the first place.