ATLANTA -- Before the offense went bonkers with three home runs in the final two innings of Friday's 7-4 win over the Braves, the Cardinals' bullpen stared down the middle of Atlanta's order in a key seventh-inning spot.
With the game tied at 4, Seung Hwan Oh took over for starter Jaime Garcia. He put himself in a precarious spot with a leadoff walk to the speedy Drew Stubbs, who then scooted to second on a sacrifice bunt and on to third with a wild pitch. An intentional walk to Freddie Freeman set up the double play, but also a matchup against cleanup hitter Adonis Garcia, whom the Cardinals had pitched around earlier in the game.
Oh brushed him back with an inside fastball to start the at-bat and then crept off the outside part of the plate from there. Garcia bit, swinging through three sliders to become the second out of the inning.
"I think you see why Oh has had the success that he's had because he's able to expand and put different break on the ball," manager Mike Matheny said. "He knows what he's doing when he gets his back up against the wall."
Oh, who has made three scoreless appearances, credited catcher Yadier Molina for designing the perfect pitch sequence.
"Just following Yadi's call pretty much," Oh said.
Kevin Siegrist entered to garner the inning's final out, sealing the first of three scoreless frames for the Cardinals' bullpen.
Though the Cardinals have lacked crispness in other areas of their game this week, the bullpen has emerged the strong suit many anticipated it would be. Through four games, the relievers have struck out 18 batters and allowed three runs in 14 2/3 innings.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.