ARLINGTON -- Tuesday night was a first for Joe Nathan and, apparently, for the Rangers. Nathan saved the Rangers' 2-0 victory over the Yankees by getting two outs with one pitch.
Nathan replaced starter Yu Darvish in the ninth inning with one out and a runner on first base. He faced Raul Ibanez, threw one pitch and got him to hit a grounder right at second baseman Ian Kinsler for a game-ending double play.
Nathan got a three-pitch save against the Tigers in 2004 but faced just one batter. Tuesday marked the fewest pitches he has ever thrown while getting a save. Since 1988, when pitch counts were first kept, no Rangers pitcher ever earned a save by getting two outs with one pitch.
"Definitely a first for me," Nathan said. "Always when you put the ball in play you want them to hit it on the ground, but I wasn't thinking double play. I was just thinking be aggressive. We went with the sinker and we wanted to make it run away from him."
Nathan didn't want Ibanez, a left-handed power hitter, to pull a tying home run over the right-field fence.
"If he was going to beat me, beat me the other way," Nathan said.
The pitch allowed Darvish to earn his third victory of the season, and this one came against fellow countryman Hiroki Kuroda.
"I was thinking just make sure I don't mess this up ... don't ruin this start," Nathan said. "Both guys pitched great. Both guys deserved to win. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in baseball. Yu was great, keeping those guys off-balance like that into the ninth inning. I wanted to make sure I nailed it down. For him to walk away from that without getting a win would have been a shame."