The Twins' slow start this year meant the Twins' closer had only six save chances in April and May combined (converting all six), and only 16 before the All-Star break (15 converted).
He had 25 saves by the break last year and 23 the year before in his two All-Star seasons.
"I wish we could've helped him out earlier in the year and given him the numbers he deserves," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Nathan kind of gets overlooked in the whole realm of things, but he doesn't ever get overlooked by us. He's been lights out to say the least."
In fact, since the All-Star game, Nathan (6-0, 1.43 ERA) is 6-for-6 in save chances with 12 strikeouts and three walks in eight scoreless appearances of one inning each -- including big ninth innings in Chicago on back-to-back nights this week to save to games in that key three-game sweep of the White Sox by the Twins.
REPLAY: Detroit's Craig Monroe singled home the winning run with two out in the top of the 10th inning off Twins setup man Juan Rincon as the Tigers beat the Twins 3-2 Friday night to win the first game of a big three-game set at the Metrodome. It snapped the Twins' four-game winning streak.
Francisco Liriano, the Twins' rookie phenom who started the game, didn't get the decision, but he pitched another dominant eight innings, with the only runs against him scoring on a two-run double in the first inning by Magglio Ordonez. Liriano struck out 12, walked two, gave up just three hits and at one point retired 10 in a row.
Redmond, who's in the second year of a two-year, $1.8 million deal, gets $950,000 each of the next two seasons and has a club option for 2009 that includes a $100,000 buyout clause.
BY THE NUMBERS: 50-0 -- Twins' record this season when leading after eight innings, thanks largely to RHP Joe Nathan, the two-time All-Star closer who has converted 21 of 22 save chances this year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's totally different now." -- C Mike Redmond, comparing the Twins this week as they prepared to face the Tigers for the first time since May, and the Twins who lost seven of nine games to the Tigers over the first week of the season.