Joe Nathan would be the first one to admit it wasn't very pretty out there in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays on Sunday.
After all, in Nathan's first save opportunity since 2009, he allowed a run to score and loaded the bases with two outs and Adam Lind at the plate, leaving the Twins clinging to a one-run lead.
But Nathan got Lind to ground out to first base on a first-pitch curveball to preserve a 4-3 win for the Twins, who picked up their first victory of the season and avoided an early-season sweep at Rogers Centre.
It certainly was an important step for Nathan, who earned his first save since Oct. 3, 2009, after missing all of the 2010 season recovering from Tommy John surgery last March.
Nathan's big save came on an afternoon when right-hander Nick Blackburn was on his game, allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out three and walked two. His lone earned run came on a solo homer from Bautista in the sixth inning. Blackburn's unearned run came in the fourth on a throwing error from Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base.
Meanwhile, in a season-opening matchup of the defending National League Central champion Reds and a Brewers club out to unseat them, it was a clean sweep for the champs.
The Reds rallied in the ninth inning to win Game 1, outpitched the Brewers in Game 2, and outslugged them in Game 3, a sweep-clinching, 12-3 win on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
"It's a wakeup call, really," Brewers leadoff man Rickie Weeks said.
Weeks hit his second leadoff home run in three games and drove in a pair of runs for Milwaukee, and Ryan Braun hit a solo homer, but the Brewers are 0-3 heading into Monday's home opener against the Braves.