Jurickson Profar launched a pinch-hit, walk-off home run into the night sky, and deep into the right field seats to give the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The winning hit came on a 1-1 fastball from Angel reliever Michael Kohn.
It was Profar’s first at-bat in three days, and his first career walk-off home run. Thursday’s win marks the fourth consecutive win over the Angels in walk-off fashion at Rangers Ballpark.
Profar’s heroics came after Joe Nathan recorded two huge strikeouts with the go-ahead run at third base in the form of Josh Hamilton.
Neal Cotts issued a walk to Hamilton to start the ninth before Nathan came on to finish the inning. Hamilton moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a groundout to first base.
Nathan, who earned his sixth win Thursday, fanned Kole Calhoun and Mark Trumbo to quell the Los Angeles threat and keep Hamilton 90 feet from home plate.
All of that came after the Rangers failed to record a shutdown inning after scoring runs twice in the first seven innings.
After going ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Adrian Beltre and a two-run double off the right field wall by A.J. Pierzynski, the Angels plated three runs of their own in the second.
The Rangers committed four errors in the three-run frame.
Mark Trumbo and Chris Iannetta accounted for two quick outs to start the Los Angeles second. But then it unraveled. Austin Romine reached on an error by Mitch Moreland, and advanced to second on a J.B. Shuck single.
With runners on first and second, Ian Kinsler committed two errors on one play. A ball off the bat of Erik Aybar went through Kinsler’s legs, and he proceeded to make a throwing error on the same play to put runners at second and third.
Both of those runners, Shuck and Aybar, came home on Mike Trout’s infield single to third base, on which Adrian Beltre overthrew first base. Trout advanced to second on the error, but did not score.
All three runs were unearned, but Los Angeles held a 4-3 advantage.
Leonys Martin put the Rangers back on top with a two-out, two-run double to the right-center gap in the bottom of the sixth inning that catapulted Texas back into the lead.
Martin has eight RBI on four hits through four games on the home stand. He had a three-run double Wednesday.
But, that lead lasted all of three total batters.
Ian Kinsler lined out to center field to end the Ranger sixth, and Los Angeles brought home a run off Tanner Scheppers after just two batters in the seventh. Kole Calhoun tripled to center field, and Mark Trumbo hit a sharp ground ball past a diving Elvis Andrus, who was drawn in to stop the run from scoring on a routine ground ball.
The first five runs didn’t come without missed opportunities. The Rangers failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Texas put runners on first and third with one out before David Murphy grounded into a double play. The Rangers loaded the bases with no one out after two singles and an error on Elvis Andrus’s sac bunt attempt, but the Rangers fell victim to another double play ball. Beltre rolled into the pair of outs to end the Texas fifth.
Texas left only five men on base while recording 12 hits, but went just 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Rangers’ starter Matt Garza pitched into the sixth inning, recording one out before being pulled in favor of Robbie Ross.
He threw 110 pitches while allowing 11 hits. Only one of the four runs scored against Garza was earned.
The righty came into the game winless against the Angels in seven career starts, and shouldering a 5.61 ERA against them.
The Rangers have now won four straight games, but once again couldn’t gain any ground in the AL Wild Card race. Tampa Bay, the Wild Card leaders, blanked the Yankees Thursday. The second-place Indians held on for a 6-5 win over Minnesota.
Game two of four between the Rangers and Angels is slated for Friday night at 7:05 p.m. CT. Alexi Ogando will take the mound for the Rangers.