SAN DIEGO -- When Dale Thayer closed out the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Rockies on Monday night, he earned his first Major League save in nearly three years.
In fact, it was just his second in the Major Leagues. Thayer owns 173 saves in the Minors, but his only Major League save before Monday's opportunity was a three-inning save on May 22, 2009, when Thayer made his Major League debut with the Rays.
On Monday, Thayer fell behind 3-0 to the first batter he faced, Troy Tulowitzki, before getting him to ground out. Thayer retired the next two batters - Todd Helton via a flyout and Michael Cuddyer via a groundout.
"I was a little nervous, but it was more exciting," Thayer said.
Padres manager Bud Black has said Thayer, Andrew Cashner and Luke Gregerson could close games while closer Huston Street is on the disabled list with a strained right lat. Thayer received the first opportunity for a save since Street went on the DL on Saturday.
"Right out of the chute, three balls to Tulowizki. Not going to lie, a little concerned," Black said. "But he came back and threw three strikes and jammed him on a 3-2 pitch, and he got the next two guys.
"The thing about Dale, he doesn't scare off, and the velocity is up a tick from the last couple years. His slider is working. He seems to be the same guy at 2:30 in the afternoon as he is at 9:45 at night, which is sort of a good thing."
Thayer's 1-2-3 outing Monday was a far cry from his first Major League save. In 2009, he allowed three hits and a run in three innings to close the Rays' 15-2 victory over the Marlins.
"It was a good spot for my first appearance to go out there with a big lead," Thayer recalled.