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."
Cruz says he wasn't mad at umpire for key K
CLEVELAND -- Nelson Cruz said he wasn't mad at home plate umpire Bill Welke when Cruz struck out swinging in the seventh inning during Friday's game against the Indians. Cruz said he was frustrated at himself for striking out with one out and a runner at second base."I was mad didn't put the ball in play," Cruz said. "I felt I had a chance to do damage if I put the ball in play. I wasn't able to do that." After he swung and missed, Cruz slammed his bat on home plate and broke it into two pieces. He then headed back to the dugout but looked over his shoulder and glared at Welke. That's when Welke threw him out of the game. "Welke just said that he wasn't going to let him embarrass him," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He let him get away with slamming his bat but when he looked back, that did it." Cruz was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the game. All four at-bats came with runners in scoring position. It's only the third time in his career he has gone hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position in a game. It's the first time he has ever been ejected from a game and Washington said he has never seen Cruz lose his temper like that. "I think what happened was it was a buildup," Washington said. "Every at-bat he had, there were runners on the bag."
Shortstop Profar called up, waiting for first game
CLEVELAND -- Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to give Elvis Andrus a break and use him at designated hitter on Saturday. But he decided against using Jurickson Profar at shortstop. Michael Young started there instead."He just got here," Washington said before the game. "I had already planned on Michael playing shortstop. I'm going to get him out there, but not tonight. He'll play short and he'll play second, but he's going to play when I put him out there." Profar was one of six players who joined the Rangers on Saturday as a September callup. The others were pitchers Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Yoshinori Tateyama, infielder Brandon Snyder and outfielder Leonys Martin. Profar is the only one who hasn't been here before. "It's great to be with these guys," Profar said. "It's special. It was kind of a surprise to me. I was thinking about it a little bit but I wasn't expecting it." Profar, who is 19 years, 194 days old, is the third youngest player in Rangers history. The only two players younger were pitchers David Clyde (18 years, 66 days in 1973) and Wilson Alvarez (19 years, 122 days in 1989). The last teenager to play for the Rangers was catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who was 19 when he made his Major League debut in 1991. "I know I'm not going to play much but to be here, that doesn't matter," Profar said. "I can get better on the bench watching these guys."
Andrus' hitting streak matches club record
CLEVELAND -- Elvis Andrus singled in his last at-bat on Friday night. That gave him a 27-game hitting streak against the Indians, tied for the longest against one opponent in club history. Ivan Rodriguez hit in 27 straight against the Rays in 1998-2000.Andrus ended up going 1-for-5 and had two errors on defense. But manager Ron Washington said that's not why he decided to use Andrus at designated hitter on Saturday. "He's done well, I've just played him more this year than I wanted," Washington said. "But Elvis is fine. What made me play him more than I wanted is we are always grinding trying to win ballgames. Nothing has been easy this year. That's how come Elvis stayed out there." Andrus now has 15 errors, tied for the third most in the American League, and four in his last eight games. Prior to that he committed four in a stretch of 68 games.
The Rangers scored 168 runs in August, the most in the Major Leagues. They were last in the Majors in runs scored in July. The Rangers' 19 wins in August were the most in the American League. The Reds and Nationals also had 19 wins. Catcher Mike Napoli, on the disabled list with a strained left quad muscle, did some running and agility drills on Saturday, but did not attempt to run the bases. Until he does that without a problem, he is not ready to go to the Minors on a rehab assignment.
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.