ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are doing what they have to do to stay in the wild-card race.
Needing a win to keep pace with Tampa Bay and Cleveland, Jurickson Profar homered in the ninth inning to lift Texas to a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels
at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers (87-71) extended their winning streak to four in the in the opener of a season-ending four-game series. Texas remains one game behind Cleveland (88-70) for the second wild-card spot with three games left. Tampa Bay (89-69) is the wild-card leader.
Profar, pinch-hitting for Adam Rosales, sent a drive into the right-field seats off reliever Michael Kohn
. The Rangers dodged a bullet in the top of the ninth, as Joe Nathan left Josh Hamilton stranded at third.
Texas jumped ahead 5-4 in the sixth on Leonys Martin's two-run double to center off Cory Rasmus, the second Los Angeles reliever of the inning.
Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers couldn't hold the lead. Kole Calhoun tripled to lead off the seventh and scored on Mark Trumbo's third hit.
Rangers starter Matt Garza should have escaped the second with his team on top, but his defense let him down. Texas committed a franchise-record four errors in the frame, leading to three unearned runs.
Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler each made fielding errors. Throwing errors from Kinsler and Adrian Beltre
allowed three runs to score.
Texas' defense did pick up Garza in the fifth. The Angels had three consecutive singles to start the inning, but the third hit didn't lead to a run. Left fielder Craig Gentry threw out Howie Kendrick at the plate, and Garza eventually worked out of a bases-loaded jam.
Angels starter Jerome Williams worked some magic of his own in the bottom of the fifth. The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs and the heart of the Texas order coming up. Williams struck out Alex Rios and coaxed a double-play ball out of Beltre to preserve Los Angeles' 4-3 advantage.
Los Angeles opened the game with two consecutive singles and went up 1-0 on Mike Trout's groundout that scored J.B. Shuck.
Texas also had two hits to start the bottom of the inning en route to a three-run rally. Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski hit run-scoring singles, and Moreland added a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: If the Rangers are involved in a play-in game for the wild-card berth, rookie LHP Martin Perez would get the start. ... Texas reached 87 wins for a club-record fifth consecutive season (2009-13), this after never previously winning 87 or more in more than two straight campaigns. The Rangers hit the mark in 1977-78 and 1998-99. ... Los Angeles RHP Jered Weaver (11-8) is the third pitcher in AL history to record 10-plus wins and a winning record in each of his first eight seasons, joining Addie Joss (1902-09) and Andy Pettitte (1995-2002).
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