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September 26, 2013

Wrapping up Rangers' walk-off victory over Angels

Jurickson Profar has had a few memorable home runs in his young career. After all, he started his big-league career by going deep in his first at-bat.

But his pinch-hit solo homer in the ninth on Thursday to keep the Texas Rangers’ playoff hopes alive tops them all. Profar sent a 1-1 fastball from Michael Kohn into the right-field seats, and was the hero after the Rangers’ 6-5 walk-off victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

The Rangers remain one game back of the Indians for the second wild card in the American League with three games left. Tampa Bay still has a two-game lead for the top spot on Texas.

“I was just looking to have a good AB and try to get on base,” Profar said. “Made the perfect swing and it went out. That was big for us.

“We’re in the race and to get that one was pretty big. The best one [in my career] I think.”

Profar hasn’t played too often in the final month, and his pinch-hit at-bat was his first appearance of the homestand. Profar, though, said he’s been able to stay in his routine and is ready for whenever he is needed.

“My confidence is always high and I’m always ready,” he said. “This is October baseball, we’re almost there. It’s just about winning. Right now, everybody is focused on winning and you have to be ready to do whatever it takes.”

Profar, at 20 years, 218 days, is the youngest player to hit a walk-off homer since Florida's Miguel Cabrera (20.063) did it on June 20, 2003 vs. Tampa Bay.

Here are a few other postgame notes:

* Thursday marked the seventh walk-off of the season for the Rangers, including the fourth against the Angels. They had three consecutive walk-off victories on July 29, 30 and 31. Those three walk-offs ended in home runs, as well, by Geovany Soto, Leonys Martin and Adrian Beltre.

* The Rangers have won four straight games, but have not made up any ground in the wild-card standings. Said A.J. Pierzynski: “All we can do is try to win games. We can’t control other games. If we win our games and they win every game, there’s nothing you can do about it. As long as we keep winning, that’s all we’re really worried about.”

* The Rangers, after taking a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first, committed four errors in the second inning that led to three Angels runs. It marked the first four-error inning in club history.

Said starter Matt Garza: “We made a couple mistakes on the field, but my job is to keep going. Keep your team in the game as long as you can.”

* Garza took a no-decision after allowing four runs (one earned) on 11 hits with two walks and three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. The 11 hits marked a season high.

* Leonys Martin came through with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning, his second consecutive night with a key two-out hit. … Elvis Andrus singled in his first at-bat to extend his hitting streak to 13 games against the Angels. … Ian Kinsler is on an eight-game hitting streak after going 2-for-4.

* The Rangers passed the 3 million mark in attendance for the second consecutive season. The Rangers have had a total attendance of 3,019,430 so far this season.

-- Drew Davison


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