ARLINGTON -- Before Wednesday, Joe Nathan had only made four appearances all month.
He had pitched in each of the Rangers' four series, but had only one save opportunity, which he converted in a 5-2 win over the Indians on May 5.
"There haven't been a lot of chances out there, but I've been in every series," Nathan said. "This job, as much as we don't want it to be, it's a flooding and then it's a drought. You're going to get a ton of chances and then there's going to be spells when you don't get out there."
Nathan struck out the side in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Athletics, needing only 15 pitches to do, so and showing an increase in velocity, touching 95 and 96 mph.
"It's been a while since I have thrown this hard," Nathan said. "I've been used to throwing 91, 92 mph. I probably hit [95-96 mph] back in '08, but not as consistently. ... Velocity's not the most important thing out there, location is. But it doesn't hurt, because you can get away with a lot more mistakes."
"He's back," said manager Ron Washington. "He had tremendous stuff last night. Each time he's taken the ball, since the first two games of the season, he's been getting sharper and sharper."
Since blowing his second save of the year in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners on April 11, Nathan has posted a 0.77 ERA and five saves.
"Saves aren't important. Winning games is, however it happens," said Nathan. "That was just a little raindrop."