By Richard W. Humphrey
Jurickson Profar hit his sixth home run of the season in the ninth inning to break a 5-5 tie and give the Texas Rangers a badly needed win by the score of 6-5. Profar was pinch hitting for Adam Rosales, and it was his first career walk-off home run. The win was a must for the Rangers in the Wild Card race, as the two teams Texas is chasing – Cleveland and Tampa Bay – had both won earlier in the evening. It was the fourth straight win for Texas and fourth straight win over the Angels in walk-off fashion.
Joe Nathan closed out the top half of the ninth inning to earn the win. He is 6-2 on the season to go with 41 saves. The Texas Rangers got into trouble in the second inning as they committed four errors, a club record for one inning, and gave up three runs to fall behind 4-3. Texas re-took the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, but Los Angeles came back with a run in the seventh to tie the game and set the stage for Profar’s heroics.
In New York, the Rays completed their first ever sweep of the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, shutting out the Bronx Bombers 4-0. Rookie Alex Cobb pitched into the eighth inning to record the win and improve his record to 11-3. It was the Rays’ seventh straight win and 12th in their last 15 games, and it reduced the Rays’ magic number to claim a Wild Card playoff spot to two.
It was an emotional night in New York, as Mariano Rivera pitched despite the lack of a save situation. It was Rivera’s final appearance in Yankee Stadium, as he is retiring after this season. The Yankees finish 2013 with a three-game set in Houston.
In Minneapolis, the Indians opened their four game series with a 6-5 win over the Twins. Johnny Gomes hit his 11th home run of the season with a runner aboard to drive in two runs. He had three hits on the night to lead an 11-hit attack. Michael Brantley also had three hits and drove in two runs.
Zach McAllister started but was knocked out in the fifth inning. Six relievers finished off the game with Bryan Shaw (7-3) earning the win. The Tribe took a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning, and sent closer Chris Perez out to finish the deal. He didn’t, recording just two outs and allowing four runs. Joe Smith came on to get the final out and earn his third save of the season.
The bottom line is that the Texas Rangers still trail Cleveland by one game and Tampa by two. There are just three games left in the season, so the Rangers’ elimination number was reduced to three. The Indians continue their series in Minnesota Friday night, while the Rangers continue theirs against the Angels. Tampa Bay moves on to Toronto for three games to finish the season.