Joe Nathan avoids disaster vs. Rockies

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan narrowly escaped a rare collapse in Sunday night's 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Nathan entered the ninth inning to preserve a 4-0 shutout that had been kept alive collectively by Matt Harrison, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Mike Adams. But after a leadoff single, a walk and a hit batter, Nathan found himself in a bases-loaded jam. Then an RBI single from Marco Scutaro and RBI sac fly with no outs from Carlos Gonzalez -- a laser that only needed a few more feet to clear Josh Hamilton and the left-center field wall for a go-ahead grand slam -- put the Rangers in danger of choking the game away.

Nathan got more help when Scutaro was caught in a 2-3-6 rundown and was called out at second, but only after Scutaro was initially waved safe as he slid in under the tag of shortstop Elvis Andrus. However, Scutaro, apparently thinking he was out, popped up off the bag and Andrus tagged him to officially record the second out.

Nathan then was able to get Jason Giambi swinging on a 1-2 slider.

"I've always said it’s not going to be sharp all the time," Nathan said. "You’re going to have to go out there and fight and tonight was definitely a dog fight against very good hitters."

Nathan may not be sharp all the time, but he certainly has been most of the time. Before Sunday, Nathan had not allowed a run in the ninth inning since May 13 against the Los Angeles Angels (16 games). It was only the second time that he has allowed two runs all season -- the only other time coming when he allowed three runs against Seattle on April 11.

Nathan, who didn't get the save because it was a four-run lead when he entered, isn't stressing about Sunday's performance, his worse in a long time. He saw his streak of 16 scoreless innings in his last 16 appearances come to an end.

"I’m happy with what we were able to do," Nathan said. "We were able to walk away with the win, keep our lead where it is and we’ll come back tomorrow and start with Detroit.”