As Rosenthal rests, Cards don't miss beat with Walden

As Rosenthal rests, Cards don't miss beat with Walden

ST. LOUIS -- Having used closer Trevor Rosenthal in five of the team's last seven games, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decided before the first pitch was thrown on Sunday that someone other than Rosenthal would have to throw the last.

That ended up being Jordan Walden, who worked around a leadoff single to close a 2-1 win over the Reds and secure his first save since July 2, 2014.

"There's nothing like it," Walden said of pitching the ninth. "The mindset, you try not to [have it] be [different than another inning]. But the ninth inning is the ninth inning. The fans get into it more. Everybody is ready. You just want to finish the game. Adam [Wainwright] pitched a great game. I just wanted to get him the win."

Cards discuss 2-1 win over Reds

Walden is no novice when it comes to the ninth, having now saved 39 games in six Major League seasons. He notched 32 of those saves with the Angels in 2011.

"That helps, without a doubt," Matheny said of Walden's previous closing experience. "Once we got that run [in the eighth], it made it very easy for us to get Jordan up and do what he has done before."

Rosenthal threw 20 pitches on Saturday while converting his fourth save in as many opportunities. Since April 11, he's thrown 85 pitches over four outings. Having watched Rosenthal buckle under a heavy workload at times last season, the Cardinals are trying to be proactive against maximizing his usage early this year.

Walden has actually appeared in a team-most eight of the team's 11 games, but several of his appearances have been brief. Three have ended with fewer than 10 pitches thrown; two were three-pitch outings.

Matheny noted after the game that Seth Maness was also unavailable out of the 'pen.

"We were a little thin down there," Matheny said. "Fortunately, our ace picked us up."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.