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July 23, 2013

Rangers postgame notes: Joe Nathan reacts to second blown save

Joe Nathan has been reliable all season. Going into Tuesday, he had converted 31 of 32 save opportunities, including 15 straight.

But he couldn't close out the ninth when handed a 4-3 lead. The Yankees rallied for two runs off him in the ninth, and went on to a 5-4 victory.

Nathan wasn't too pleased with his outing, and had struggles adjusting to a tight strike zone by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley.

Vernon Wells drew a one-out walk, Eduardo Nunez had an RBI triple to center and Brent Lillibridge came through with a run-scoring single to left.

"It could've easily went the other way for sure," Nathan said. "I thought I threw some pretty decent pitches, but I guess they were just off. I don’t know. I’ve thrown them before [for strikes], that’s for sure, but wasn’t to be tonight."

In the at-bat against Nunez, Nathan's foot came out from under him on his 2-2 offering as he slipped and scooted a wild pitch past catcher A.J. Pierzynski. That's the one pitch Nathan would like to have back, as it came at a critical point in the at-bat.

Nunez sent the next pitch, a 3-2 slider, over Craig Gentry's head for the triple.

"That 2-2 pitch was a big pitch in the inning," Nathan said. "Obviously you want to do more than fire a 30-footer you slip on. It could've changed the inning for sure, but other than that, they did a good job."

Asked if he had to change his approach with a smaller strike zone, Nathan said: "You just hope for the best. Hope you get the borderline call. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. ... I think they were OK, but unfortunately, I’m not the one calling balls and strikes. He thought they were just off, so I’ve got to take his word for it and that’s all that matters anyways. It doesn’t matter what I think about it, but obviously in a one-run game, one pitch could be huge."

Here are a few other notes from Tuesday's game:

* Alexi Ogando pitched well enough to keep the team in the game in his first start back from right shoulder inflammation. Ogando allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts over five innings.

* The Rangers passed the 2-million mark in attendance Tuesday for the 17th time in the last 18 years. They are on pace for a second consecutive season of 3 million.

* With the soccer doubleheader at Cowboys Stadium on Wednesday, the Rangers will be asking fans to show their baseball tickets for Wednesday’s game as they enter Ballpark parking lots. The Rangers want to make certain that the Ballpark lots are reserved for fans attending Wednesday’s Rangers-Yankees game. The parking lots open at 4 p.m.

-- Drew Davison

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