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Motte named NL Player of the Week for first time

Motte named NL Player of the Week for first time

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Motte named NL Player of the Week for first time
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny showed concern for closer Jason Motte's workload last week after the right-hander pitched in four consecutive games. The skipper can't be bothered by the results, though.

Motte recorded five saves last week to help St. Louis stand its ground in the National League Wild Card race. In doing so, he captured NL Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.

"It's good to know he cares about you," Motte said of his skipper. "He doesn't just care about the save or whatever even if your arm falls off tomorrow. That's good to know; it tells you a lot about the kind of person he is. He told us he doesn't want us going out there throwing every day."

The 30-year-old allowed just two hits and struck out 10 in 4 2/3 innings. On Sunday, Motte tallied his NL-leading 40th save of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Entering the 2012 campaign, Motte had notched just 12 saves over four big league seasons. He has converted 40 of 47 save opportunities this year.

The Cardinals went 5-1 last week, as they continue to stave off the Dodgers, Brewers, D-backs and Phillies in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot.

"It's not about the saves. It's about the wins," Motte said. "If I'm out there, we're winning. That's what the game is about -- winning. If I'm out there and we're winning and I come off the mound and we're winning, it's a good thing."

Motte became the first Cardinals reliever to record a save in five straight wins since Lee Smith did so in June 1993. He is the fourth pitcher in club history to reach the 40-save plateau.

The first reliever to win the weekly award since Huston Street in June 2009, Motte had competition from teammate Kyle Lohse, who posted a 2.08 ERA in a pair of victorious starts. Colorado's Wilin Rosario batted .448 for the week while collecting 13 hits, and San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval slugged four homers and drove in nine runs while hitting .478.

"You don't see that happen very often with the bullpen guys," Matheny said. "We were talking earlier, they're kind of like the interior linemen, they're only noticed when things go bad. But I think that's a huge award for him."

Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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