Nathan gave up a run on two hits and walked a pair in his inning, but got Adam Lind to ground out to first with bases loaded to end the game, earning his 248th career save.
"But it still feels like the first time when you get out there, for sure," Nathan told the Minneapolis Star-Tribine.
When Nathan walked Jose Bautista, he had reached 30 pitches, more than manager Ron Gardenhire wanted him to throw.
"We're going to protect [Nathan]," Gardenhire said. "He was close to coming out of that game."
Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery last March, so the team is watching his workload. The team hopes to limit days Nathan pitches back-to-back, so he probably won't pitch on Monday in New York, with Matt Capps getting the call in a save situation.
"We've got two closers out there," Gardenhire said. "We trust both of them."For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.