Rosenthal's 48th save sets Cardinals' record
Single-season mark passes Smith, Isringhausen; comes day after blowing opportunity
PITTSBURGH -- It took two tries, but Trevor Rosenthal, with a scoreless ninth in the Cardinals' 3-0 win over the Pirates on Monday, now stands alone atop the franchise's single-season leaderboard.
His 48 saves move him ahead of Lee Smith, who saved 47 games in 1991, and Jason Isringhausen, who matched that total 13 years later. Rosenthal, a second-year closer, had an opportunity to reach the achievement on Sunday but watched an inning rapidly unravel on his watch.
Within a 15-pitch span, Rosenthal allowed a single, hit a batter in the head, spiked a wild pitch, issued a walk and served up a grand slam. It left him with a blown save and the Cardinals with an 8-4 loss to the Brewers.
His only other two blown saves this season came against the Pirates, who showed some life against him again on Monday. It started with an eight-pitch walk to Andrew McCutchen.
"I probably pitched him a little bit too carefully in that situation with nobody on and a three-run lead," Rosenthal said. "I felt like I made some good pitches, and he put together a good at-bat like he always does."
A single by Starling Marte then brought the potential tying run to the plate.
Neil Walker's at-bat appeared to end on a ground ball to the first baseman, but Walker argued that the ball hit off his foot, and the umpiring crew agreed. Manager Mike Matheny, who came out to argue the call, thought otherwise.
"Not convinced at all," Matheny added afterward. "Haven't seen it on video myself, but I haven't heard anything since I walked back in here to sway my opinion."
It proved inconsequential as Rosenthal proceeded to strike out Walker and retire the next two batters to move the Cardinals within one win of a National League Central title
"We were excited to get him on the mound again after yesterday, and it looked radically different," Matheny said. "[He was] making good pitches with everything. He stayed with it. It was obviously huge for us and huge for him, also."
The 25-pitch inning was also record-setting.
"It's very special, but I don't put a lot of value into the immediate results," Rosenthal said. "I'm just trying to go out every day and give it my best and hope everything goes well. It definitely means a lot to me to do it with the organization that I came up with and gave me a chance and drafted me and with a lot of guys in this clubhouse who I came up with."