ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Hard-throwing Jason Motte was the fifth pitcher to audition for the St. Louis Cardinals' closer job. He's nailing down that role, even if manager Tony La Russa is steadfast in his refusal to make it official.
Handed a one-run lead in the ninth inning Wednesday night, Motte seemed immune to pressure in Game 1 of the World Series. He needed only 10 pitches to put away the Texas Rangers, feeding off a sellout crowd that roared more with each success.
"Those fans were behind me the whole time. I heard them cheering, heard them going, 'Let's Go Cards!'" Motte said. "You have to throw strikes, that's the name of the game."
La Russa turned to Motte only after going through Ryan Franklin, Mitchell Boggs, Eduardo Sanchez and Fernando Salas. Motte had nine saves in September and has been virtually untouchable in the postseason, allowing one hit with seven strikeouts in nine innings. He's 5 for 5 in save chances.
La Russa coaxed two scoreless innings out of four relievers to get the game to Motte.
"I don't want to give up runs whether we're up by 10 runs or whether it's a one-run ballgame," Motte said. "I don't really care what the score is, I don't want anybody to score."