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Salas: Fastest Cardinal to 10-for-10 in saves

When St. Louis Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas picked up his tenth save in ten opportunities on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium against San Francisco, he joined two others in a tie for the sixth-longest perfect save run to begin a Cardinals season.

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf, the others follow.

Consecutive saves to start a season without a blown save, St. Louis Cardinals

Rank Closer Streak Start End Saves
1 Tom Henke 4/30/1995 7/22/1995 22
2 Jason Isringhausen 4/5/2005 6/1/2005 16
3 Lindy McDaniel 4/19/1960 6/29/1960 14
4 Joe Hoerner 4/11/1969 7/24/1969 12
5 Joe Hoerner 5/19/1966 7/28/1966 11
T6 Dave Veres 4/11/2001 6/19/2001 10
T6 Larry Jackson 5/8/1956 9/28/1956 10
T6 Fernando Salas 4/28/2011 5/31/2011* 10*
* active

Note that despite Salas having been the team’s fourth choice as closer this season, after Ryan Franklin, Mitchell Boggs and Eduardo Sanchez, he logged at least ten perfect saves to start a season in the shortest elapsed time in team history. Salas collected his ten pack in just one month and three days, over a span of just 32 Cardinals games in total.

In 2005, Jason Isringhausen collected his first ten saves without a miss between games 1 and 41. Izzy went on to log 16 straight before suffering his first blown save on June 2, 2005 at Colorado. That was the second-longest streak to open a season in team history. Tom Henke picked up his tenth save in the Cardinals’ 33rd game of the strike-delayed 1995 season on his way to a franchise-best 22-save run before suffering his first blown opportunity.

To be completely accurate, Salas is actually 12-for-12 this season as he picked up two saves with Triple-A Memphis prior to his April 13 promotion to St. Louis.

His streak ends there, however.

Though Salas was a perfect 19-for-19 in saves for the Pacific Coast League Redbirds last season, in his sixth and final call-up to St. Louis in 2010, he blew his first and only major league save opportunity. Last September 18 against San Diego at Busch Stadium, Salas allowed three earned runs in 1/3 of an inning of work.

These rates may not sustain in 2011, but Cardinals fans would probably be delighted if Salas would log 19 saves in every 20 opportunities as he produced last summer.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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