Maddon shows support for Nathan's milestone

Maddon shows support for Nathan's milestone

ARLINGTON -- Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn't happy with the way Monday's game ended. But he still sent over the Rays lineup card to Rangers closer Joe Nathan as a memento. Maddon wanted to congratulate Nathan on earning his 300th save.

Maddon wrote on it: "Congrats. Outstanding career. Keep it going." He also signed it.

"It was nice," Nathan said. "Even though they were not too excited at the call at the end, it was nice for him to send it over and sign it."

Nathan saved the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Rays on Monday by striking out Ben Zobrist in the ninth to end the game. Tampa Bay had a runner at first with two outs and Evan Longoria on deck when Zobrist was called out on a full-count slider that appeared outside the strike zone. Home-plate umpire Marty Foster admitted later he missed the call.

"It's part of the game," Nathan said. "There will be a time when things go against us. These things have a way of evening out. We're not looking at it as a huge break."

Nathan stopped by the Rays' dugout to thank Maddon for the gesture. But Maddon wasn't the only one to reach out to Nathan and congratulate him on becoming the 24th reliever in Major League history to reach 300 saves.

"I've received a pretty good number of texts from high school coaches, college coaches, guys I played with in the Minor Leagues, guys I haven't talked to in a long time," Nathan said. "It was nice to catch up."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.