PHILADELPHIA • When the Cardinals scrambledthis season for someone, anyone to seize control of the ninthinning and close games, second-year reliever Fernando Salas coollystepped into the breach and brought stability in an emergency. What they needed him to do Sunday was even more urgent. Ace Chris Carpenter had caved in his short-rest start, and thegame – perhaps even the series – was rapidly slipping away from theCardinals. Down by four runs to start the fourth inning, theCardinals had rallied and cut the lead to 4-3 but no longer hadCarpenter to pitch the bottom of that inning. The bullpen, pushedfor 223 innings Saturday, had to stomach at least six inningsSunday. The immediate weight of the game and the Cardinals’ newproximity in it fell to Salas. His work set the wheels in motion for a parade of relievers thatresulted in a 5-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park and a suddenly tiedNational League division series, 1-1. “Salas set the tone for us,” veteran Arthur Rhodes said. “Hecame out, threw strikes, picked up Carp. We all followed hislead.” Pitching coach Dave Duncan had another word for Salas’innings. “Huge. Huge,” he said. “We got everything we needed fromeveryone who pitched. Nobody came up short. And that was big.” The Cardinals’ bullpen pitched 323 perfect innings of immediaterelief for Carpenter. Keyed by Salas’ two innings, the bullpenstruck out six and allowed two baserunners in six innings. Without Salas handling two innings, the Cardinals would have hadto use Edwin Jackson and would not have been able to deploy fourrelievers in the eighth inning to get three outs with a one-runlead. “I had a lot of emotion, but I realized once the game starts I’mthere for a reason,” Salas said, with the help of Cardinalsscouting director Jeff Luhnow as translator. “The energy of thepostseason was definitely a driving (force), and the goal was tomake sure the other team didn’t score so we could stay in thisgame.” It took Salas six pitches to get through his first inning. Fivepitches were strikes, and all three of the outs were groundouts,including an inning-ending bouncer by leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins.The brevity and economy of his first inning allowed him to appearfor a second. In 46 appearances this season, Salas pitched multipleinnings eight times, five before the All-Star break. In his second inning Sunday, Salas struck out two and coaxed afly ball to center from slugger Ryan Howard. Salas’ playoff debut lasted 19 pitches, and he retired all sixbatters he faced, saving the bullpen from added mileage so thatmanager Tony La Russa could play matchups later. “Whatever the team needed,” Salas said. “If it was one inning,two innings, three innings. … (I) was willing to pitch early inthe game and late in the game. Whatever the team needs.” Lauded for his steady pulse, Salas first appeared in the majorslast season. He made his case, however, as the last cut from campon the eve of departing Jupiter, Fla. It wasn’t long before aninjury opened up a spot for him in mid-April, and within two weekshe had his first save. When veteran Ryan Franklin lost his bearings in the ninth andeventually lost his job as closer, Salas was not the firstchoice. He was, for a long time, the last choice. Salas took over the closing job in May and, by the All-Starbreak, he had 16 saves. Before Sunday’s appearance, Salas had notappeared in a game earlier than the seventh inning since April 20,his second appearance of the season. Octavio Dotel, who got thewin, remarked that he was surprised to see Salas warming up in thesecond inning Sunday. “From the beginning of the year, (I) was in long relief, andthen the sixth inning, seventh inning, eighth inning and thenninth,” Salas said. “Every role has been a learning experience. Inthe postseason, it’s a little more intense, but wherever I’mneeded, I’m willing to step in.” In the last month, in which Salas was used as a secondarycloser, he scored his 24th save of the season two weeks ago againstthe Phillies, entering after Motte to close out a victory in the11th inning. He was needed much earlier Sunday. Jason Motte got theofficial save in the box score Sunday. It was Salas who saved the Cardinals for the win.