Saturday, April 7, 2012
Joe Nathan unable to keep game tied late
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan didn't make any excuses Saturday.
It didn't matter that he was pitching on back-to-back days (he knows closers have to be able to handle that) or that it was a tie game and not, technically, a save situation.
"You still have to go out and put a zero on the board and hope our team comes out and puts a tally on the board for us," said Nathan, who surrendered the winning run in the ninth of a 4-3 loss to the White Sox. "I still have to go out there and make pitches.
"I got beat tonight. Unfortunately, that one cost us tonight."
Nathan, 37, came in with the game tied in the ninth inning. Manager Ron Washington had things set up just like he wanted, the same flying bullpen formation as Opening Day. With the Rangers' getting last at-bat, Washington went with his top arms to keep the game even -- Alexi Ogando in the seventh, Mike Adams in the eighth and Nathan in the ninth.
"That's what you want," Washington said. "We had our closer in there trying to get us to the bottom of the ninth. He just left one up. That happens. But that's the situation we want to be in."
Nathan got ahead 1-2 on Alex Rios and threw a 93 mph fastball that caught too much of the plate. Rios hit it to straightaway center and just over the wall, as Josh Hamilton just missed making a leaping catch.
Rios was 2-for-9 off Nathan coming into the game with a triple and three strikeouts.
"I know I've faced him quite a bit, so there is that cat and mouse game," Nathan said. "Unfortunately, I got caught today. I've probably thrown everything I have at him. Tonight, he guessed right. He took a swing on something I didn't think he'd take a swing like that on. It was more in the zone than I wanted it to be. At the same time, I was aggressive with it. It was a pitch I wanted to throw and unfortunately, it didn't want to work out today."