CLEVELAND -- Rangers closer Joe Nathan retired Jason Donald on a grounder to end Friday's game and preserve a 5-3 victory over the Indians. He then made sure he tucked away the final game ball for safekeeping.
He does that after every save, not just because Friday's game set a new record. Nathan has been successful on 26 straight save opportunities, the longest streak in club history. He passed John Wetteland, who had 25 straight in 1997-98.
"I wasn't aware of it," Nathan said. "It wasn't on my mind. It just goes with going out and performing and getting the job done. The only thing that's good is the games we're leading, we're finishing them off. Especially since I don't think Oakland is going to lose the rest of the year, we've got to win as many games as we can."
Nathan has retired the last 15 batters that he has faced, including 11 on strikeouts. He now has 289 saves in his career, so that means he has 289 baseballs stashed somewhere.
"I put the date on it and the number save," Nathan said. "If someone has their first win or if they set a milestone, I'll give them the last ball and get a different ball used in the game."
But right now the baseballs are all stashed in a closet or a drawer. Nathan said he hasn't figured out a way to display them.
"Maybe I'll set them up in the bar in my house," Nathan said. "I'm sure I'll run across something."