ARLINGTON, Texas -- The big hit for the Los Angeles Angels in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-4 comeback win was Torii Hunter's two-out, two-RBI double. But the inning became a stressful one for the Rangers and an opportunistic one for the Angels when No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta earned a one-out walk to put two batters on base.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan, who had blown just two saves all season, was ahead in the count 0-2 before Iannetta got the count back in his favor and walked.
"He took some good pitches, took some pitches that I've seen people chase, but he's known to be able to lay off some good stuff," Nathan said. "We knew that coming in. (We) tried to give him some different looks with the same pitch and couldn't get him to offer at any of them. So good at-bat by him."
That put two runners on with one out for Mike Trout, who had homered in his previous at-bat (against Yu Darvish). Nathan retired him with a 3-2 slider that Trout missed. That got the crowd really going as Hunter came to the late as the last hope for the Angels. Nathan threw him a slider and Hunter ripped it to left-center to bring home Maicer Izturis and pinch-runner Peter Bourjos with the tying and go-ahead runs.
"It was a bad pitch, one bad pitch in the inning," Nathan said. "Honestly, the slider was probably up all inning. But they were taking them most of the time. It's just that when I was involved in an at-bat with him, you can't leave a slider up right there because he's going to be swinging. Bad pitch, wrong time."
Nathan said he felt fine physically, he just didn't get the job done. And despite throwing 28 pitches in the first game of the doubleheader, Nathan said he'd be available if needed in the second game.
"There are no off days right now," Nathan said.
Nathan stayed in the dugout with a towel over his head for a while after he left the mound. When asked what he was thinking, Nathan said those thoughts were reserved for him. But with four games left in the 2012 season, the Rangers are still trying to clinch a playoff berth and the AL West title. They can nail down at least a wild-card spot with a win tonight.