Ryan Mattheus was like a lamb being led to slaughter. With the Cardinals already leading 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the right handed reliever was brought into what looked like an inescapable jam. Not only were the bases loaded with no outs, but the next two hitters were Allen Craig, last year’s postseason hero, and the always clutch Yadier Molina. That the Nationals’ deficit would grow seemed to be a forgone conclusion. The only question was by how much. However, Mattheus had other ideas, and two pitches later, the side was a retired without a run crossing the plate.
Mattheus’ economical outing made him the first pitcher to record a full inning in the postseason (and 22nd in baseball history) by throwing fewer than three pitches. And, when the Nationals scored two runs in the top of the eighth, it also made him a winner. As a result, the righty became only the fourth pitcher in postseason history to earn a victory by throwing no more than two pitches. Of course, the three others who accomplished the feat didn’t have to run the same gauntlet as Mattheus, who can confidently lay claim to authoring the most effortless clutch performance by a pitcher in postseason history.