Season No. 6 of the Juice is almost complete! Stop by in the final days of the regular season for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
If the Texas Rangers are going to rebound from their 8-15 month of September and sneak into the playoffs, it's going to take some drama. Cue rookie Jurickson Profar getting called on as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday.
The Rangers were tied 5-5 with the Los Angeles Angels in a game Texas couldn't afford to lose. Because it can't really afford to lose any right now. The Rangers had won three in a row and with another win they could, best case, gain ground on the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe had a one-game lead for the second AL Wild Card spot coming into Thursday's action.
Then, with one swing, Profar sent the Rangers and their fans into hysteria. He drove a home run down the right-field line on the third pitch he saw. Game over. Victory accomplished.
"I wasn't looking for a home run," Rangers manager Ron Washington told MLB.com. "I was looking for somebody to get on base, so I sent up Profar. He gave me the opposite of what I wanted, but it was huge."
If the Rangers were going to get the most of this win, they were going to need some help from the Minnesota Twins, who were playing the Indians. A Twins win meant the Rangers and Indians would be tied for an AL playoff spot.
The Twins tried. Down 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Twins rallied for four runs off Indians closer Chris Perez. The score became 6-5 not long after the Rangers had walked off and won.
Perez was pulled for Joe Smith. The Twins then managed to get runners at first and second with two outs. Smith shut the door, though, striking out pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia and securing the 6-5 Indians win.
Despite a whole lot of drama, the Indians and Rangers now enter Friday like they entered Thursday — with Cleveland a game ahead in the Wild Card race.
Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Giants win in what might be free-agent-to-be Tim Lincecum's final start for the team. He pitches seven innings, strikes out six and gives up two runs, but gets a no-decision. An eighth-inning homer by Angel Pagan puts the Giants ahead.
Padres 3, D-backs 2: Alexi Amarista's 11th inning single wins it for the Padres.
Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2: The Orioles give us our third 3-2 win of the night. Trendy score alert!
Royals 3, White Sox 2: Another 3-2 game? Geez. OK, make it four. Jeremy Guthrie gets win No. 15 in this one.
Braves 7, Phillies 1: Jason Heyward is 5-for-5 with a homer for the Braves, who tie the Cardinals for best record in the NL. The Braves own the tiebreaker between the two.
Brewers 4, Mets 2: The Brewers get four runs in the second to down Dillon Gee and the Metropolitans.
''You don't want to lose 100. You don't want to put that on a team next year. Whoever's here is going to have to answer questions about this season and just have it in the back of their minds."
— Paul Konerko on his 97-loss White Sox approaching 100.
Mark Kotsay was honored before Thursday's Padres game. He's retiring after 17 seasons in the MLB, five of which have been with San Diego. He was joined by his wife and three children. It was his final game in San Diego. Kotsay hit .276 in his career.
• According to Elias Sports Bureau, Jurickson Profar is the first player since 1928 to hit a pinch-hit, walk-off homer before his 21st birthday. Who did it last? Jimmie Foxx.
• The Royals won their 84th game, the most for the franchise since 1993.
• The Rangers last four home games against the Angels have ended with walk-off homers.
Pennant races are here. Spend the stretch run with us.
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- Jurickson Profar
- Texas Rangers
- Cleveland Indians