Profar's homer pushes Rangers past Royals

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Texas Rangers needed a big hit from an offense that had scored just two runs through the previous 17 innings against the Kansas City Royals.
The big blow came from rookie Jurickson Profar with two outs.
Profar found a 1-2 pitch that he sent into the jet stream at Rangers Ballpark, and the ball cleared the right-center-field wall for a 383-foot, game-winning home run. Texas added another run in the eighth and went on to win 3-1 and take the weekend series two games to one.
"It doesn't matter if it is a home run or an error," Profar said. "For me, if we win, I'm happy. The thing that you play for is the win."
Profar had a chance for a game-winning hit Saturday in the ninth inning, but a popup ended the threat, and the Rangers wound up losing 4-1 in 10 innings.
"It takes anything," Profar said. "A base hit, a double, or anything. Anything that you can do to give your team the win."
After Profar's homer, Elvis Andrus lined a single to center field and advanced to third after the catcher's throw went into the outfield on his steal attempt.
David Murphy sent the next pitch over the shortstop's glove to plate Andrus.
"We pulled out the series, and that is the important thing," Andrus said. "We got great outings from our pitches and our relievers. Yu (Darvish, Sunday's starter,) was being Yu. He has been amazing. And our bullpen has been a big part of why we have been successful."
Darvish pitched seven scoreless innings for the Rangers, yet he finished without a win for the third consecutive start.
"I think it was a really meaningful outing that I was able to shut them out in seven innings despite not having all of my stuff today," Darvish said. "I tried not to give up walks today and I also tried not to get behind in the account."
Darvish gave up three hits and two walks while striking out six.
The Rangers jumped ahead with a first-inning run, and Kansas City tied the game in the eighth against Texas reliever Neal Cotts. Alex Gordon opened with a leadoff double and advanced to third on Alcides Escobar's sacrifice bunt. Gordon slid home safely on Eric Hosmer's grounder to third.
Kansas City had its opportunities to break through on Darvish in the second inning, loading the bases twice.
Billy Butler walked, and Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain followed with consecutive base hits. Butler tested the arm of Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry on a flyout by Jeff Francoeur, but Gentry's throw beat Butler home, and Geovany Soto applied the tag at the plate.
George Kottaras reached on a wild-pitch strike three to fill the bases for a second time in the inning. However, Chris Getz flied out to center to end the threat.
"Darvish was hittable today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were in a position to do some damage, but we couldn't convert anything there. We have to start picking up some of those opportunities and convert."
Kansas City had another opportunity against the right-hander in the fourth when its first two batters reached base. Butler opened with his second consecutive leadoff walk, and Moustakas was hit by a pitch. However, Darvish settled in and retired the final three batters to end the threat.
Royals starter Ervin Santana nearly matched Darvish, allowing just one unearned run in seven innings. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out five.
"He was phenomenal today," Yost said of Santana. "He was a little more effectively wild. It was real effective for him because they couldn't sit on anything. He did a great job getting us through seven."
The lone mark on Santana's score line came in the first. Royals shortstop Escobar bounced his throw to first on Elvis Andrus' leadoff chopper, sending the ball into the stands and allowing Andrus to move to second.
Andrus advanced to third after tagging up on a flyout to right, and he scored when Lance Berkman hit a soft grounder in the infield.
The first hit against Santana came in the fourth when Nelson Cruz singled to center. Cruz, Andrus and Profar each had multiple-hit games for the Rangers, Gordon and Moustakas had two hits apiece for the Royals.
NOTES: 3B Adrian Beltre was left out of the Texas lineup due to a mild left hamstring strain. ... RHP Alexi Ogando is scheduled to return to the Rangers rotation Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox. He is on the 15-day disabled list due to right triceps inflammation. ... Both teams are off Monday before beginning their next series. The Rangers travel to face the Red Sox while, the Royals return home to host the Minnesota Twins.

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