ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers didn’t have time for scoreboard watching Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
They were too busy trying to scramble for a victory.
There wasn’t really any need. They should have known how the game would end. After all, they were playing the Angels.
Pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo homer to lift Texas to a 6-5 victory over Los Angeles. It marked the fourth-consecutive win for the Rangers in walk-off fashion against the Angels in Arlington, with all four coming on home runs.
The first three came in July when the Rangers were trying to make up ground in the American League West. Thursday’s came as the Rangers are clinging to playoff hopes against Tampa Bay and Cleveland teams that refuse to lose.
So do the Rangers, who have now won four straight but remain one behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot and two back of Tampa Bay with just three games remaining.
“We know what’s at stake and we’re fighting every night and I think they showed you that tonight,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
They were fighting against themselves for most of the night. A four-error second inning led to three unearned runs and a 4-3 Los Angeles lead. A two-run double by Leonys Martin to put Texas up 5-4 was blunted by an Angels run in the top of the seventh.
And then Joe Nathan worked out of a jam in the ninth when the Angels had the go-ahead run at third with one out.
All that did was set the stage for Profar. Washington had Lance Berkman ready to pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth before Craig Gentry struck out with Berkman in the on-deck circle.
He decided to go with Profar over Berkman against Michael Kohn to start the ninth in an effort to get the winning rally started.
“I wasn’t looking for a home run,” Washington said. “I was looking for someone to get on base right there. So I sent Profar up there and he gave me the opposite of what I was looking for but it was huge.”
Profar has started just two of the last 17 games for the Rangers and had just one at-bat in the homestand. He made the most of his AB Thursday by lining a 1-1 fastball 372 feet into the home-run porch in right.
“I made a good swing,” said Profar, who is now 3 for 7 as a pinch hitter. “I was just looking to have a good AB and try to get on base. I made a perfect swing and it went out. It’s good for us. We’re in the race and to get that one was pretty big.”
It helped save the Rangers from what could have been a devastating loss. Texas jumped out 3-1 behind Matt Garza in the first inning but then made some dubious team history in the second.
Mitch Moreland booted a grounder with two outs and that opened up the error doors for Texas. Following a base hit, Ian Kinsler made two errors on the same play and then Adrian Beltre threw a ball away on a Mike Trout single. By the time the Rangers finally got out the frame, they had set a club record for most errors in an inning and became the first team this year with a four-error inning.
That frame led to extra pitches for Garza, who allowed 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings and four runs, with just one of them earned.
Garza was able to keep his composure despite the second.
“Keep your team in the game as long as you can and go as hard as you can and that was my job tonight,” Garza said. “We made a couple of mistakes on the field but my job is to keep it strong and get everything back in order. You just keep making pitches. It’s not like they’re trying to (make errors). These guys know what’s on the line.”