Stechschulte was called up from the minors five different times by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000, appearing in 20 games for the NL Central champs. The right-hander earned his first major-league win with two innings of scoreless relief on June 23rd vs. Los Angeles. A closer in his minor-league career, Stechschulte developed into a bullpen mainstay for the Cardinals in 2001, tallying six saves while working more than 60 games.
On April 17, 2001, Stechschulte became the fifth Cardinal to homer in his first major-league at-bat. Pinch-hitting for Mike James in the sixth inning of a massacre at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the reliever took pitcher Armando Reynoso deep on the very first pitch he saw.