Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Angels 5
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar saved the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
Profar, pinch hitting in the bottom of the ninth, delivered a thunderbolt for the Rangers with a no-doubt-about-it home run to right field for a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have won four straight games at home against the Angels on walk-off homers.
Texas kept pace in the American League wild-card race, remaining two games behind Tampa Bay and one game behind Cleveland.
Escape artist: The Rangers dodged a major bullet in the top of the ninth. Neal Cotts got ahead of Josh Hamilton 0-2 to start the inning but walked him. It was Hamilton's fifth walk in 134 at-bats. Howie Kendrick then failed on two attempts to get down a bunt, but Hamilton still went to second base on Joe Nathan's wild pitch. Kendrick moved Hamilton to third on a ground ball to second. Nathan somehow escaped. He struck out Kole Calhoun and Mark Trumbo to get out of the inning and keep the game tied at 5.
Martin is clutch again: Leonys Martin is saving the Rangers in his first full season in the big leagues. He had a go-ahead bases-clearing double in Wednesday's 7-3 victory. With the Rangers trailing 4-3 on Thursday night and having hit into two double plays to kill rallies in the fourth and fifth innings, Martin came up with a clutch two-out double with two runners on base to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Scheppers gives up lead: The Rangers had a chance at two shutdown innings, keeping their opponent off the board in the half-inning after they had scored, and failed both times. It was more surprising when Tanner Scheppers couldn't get it done in the top of the seventh. After the Rangers took the lead on Martin's hit, Scheppers allowed a leadoff triple to Calhoun and an RBI single to Trumbo, who broke out of an 0-for-25 slump by getting three hits on Thursday night.
Defensive futility: The Rangers had the worst defensive inning in franchise history in the biggest game of the 2013 season. Enough said. Leading 3-1 in the top of the second, Matt Garza got the first two outs, and then his infield completely let him down. First baseman Mitch Moreland booted a routine ground ball to extend the inning. After J.B. Shuck singled, the Rangers appeared to be out of the inning when Erick Aybar hit a grounder right at Ian Kinsler at second base. Kinsler let the ground ball roll through his legs, then he made another error trying to get an out at third base as the Angels cut the Texas lead to 3-2. Adrian Beltre then made a throwing error on a ground ball by Mike Trout and two runs came in for a 4-3 Angels lead. The Rangers totaled four errors in the inning.
Record setting: The four errors were the most in an inning by a Rangers team. Ever. It's the first four-error inning since 2010 and the first in the American League since 2007.
Fifth-inning debacle: Trailing 4-3, the Rangers loaded the bases on singles by Martin and Kinsler and an error by Andrew Romine on Elvis Andrus' sacrifice bunt. They scored zero runs. No. 3 hitter Alex Rios got up in the count 3-1 and swung through two sliders, the second one way out of the strike zone. Beltre then fell behind in the count 0-2 and grounded into a rally-killing double play to shortstop.
Up next: Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando (7-4, 2.93) will take on the Los Angeles Angels and former Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson (17-7, 3.36) at 7:05 p.m. Friday night on TXA Ch. 21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.