If the Rangers sneak into the American League playoffs by one win they can point to the moment when manager Ron Washington remembered rookie Jurickson Profar was still around. Profar led off the ninth inning with a pinch-hit homer that gave the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday night. It was only the second at-bat for Profar the highly touted prodigy in the last eight games. “I was just looking to get on base” Profar said. “I made a perfect swing and it went out. That’s good for us.” The Rangers overcame a variety of mishaps including the first four-error inning in franchise history to remain two games behind Tampa Bay and one game behind Cleveland in the race for the two wild-card playoff spots. The Rangers persevered despite giving away leads of 3-1 and 5-4. “We know what’s at stake” Washington said. “We’re fighting every night. I think they showed you that.” The final inning alone said the Rangers will not go down without a fight. The Angels put Josh Hamilton the former Ranger at third with one out in the ninth through the combination of a walk from a 0-2 count and a wild pitch on another 0-2 count. Closer Joe Nathan came back from a 2-0 count to strike out Kole Calhoun on a slider and got power threat Mark Trumbo to chase a high fastball. The less-threatening Chris Iannetta was on deck but Washington let Nathan go after Trumbo. “I’m trying to be smart out there trying to think through slow the game down and continue to make pitches” Nathan said. “Behind in the count I think I made my better pitches.” During the eighth Washington had Lance Berkman on deck to bat in the designated-hitter spot but the inning ended without a chance. When the Rangers went up in the ninth Washington switched to Profar. Washington’s thinking was Berkman would have had a better chance to drive a ball and score a runner from first had he batted with two outs in the eighth. Washington went to Profar because he wanted a base runner.
Washington's switch to Jurickson Profar could be reason Rangers sneak into playoffs
Dallas Morning News | Sep 27