HOUSTON -- The Rangers went into Friday's game expecting Joe Nathan to be ready as their closer even though he had pitched in three straight games. Nathan needed just eight pitches to set down the side in order on Thursday afternoon against the Athletics and threw just 38 pitches over his past three outings. "I'm going to go out on a limb and say if there's a closing situation, he'll be in there,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Nathan pitched against the Royals on Tuesday and in both games against the Athletics. He pitched a scoreless inning in all three games and it's the first time this season he has pitched on three straight days.
"The results were obvious," Washington said. "He was just as good yesterday as he was the second day and just as good the first day. I didn't see any difference. He was very efficient with the way he used his pitches." With a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning on Friday, Nathan retired the side in order on 21 pitches, 13 for strikes, for his ninth save. Washington said postgame that Nathan would be unavailable for Saturday night's contest.