Lost in the terrible strike call that ended yesterday’s Rangers-Rays game is that the pitch closed out the 300th save of Joe Nathan’s career, moving him into a tie for 22nd place on the all-time list with Bruce Sutter and Jason Isringhausen.
What makes Nathan’s save total especially impressive is that he didn’t become a closer until age 29 and then missed his entire age-35 season following Tommy John elbow surgery. And yet if he duplicates last season’s 37 saves he’ll finish this year ranked 11th all time between Rollie Fingers and John Wetteland.
And if you look only at career saves from age 29 on, Nathan could finish this season fourth all time behind only Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Dennis Eckersley.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.