That four-error inning? Forget about it

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
11:56
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Consider this: The Rangers overcame the worst inning of defense in franchise history Thursday night to stay alive in a wild American League wild-card race.

Isn't baseball fun?

[+] EnlargeAdrian Beltre
AP Photo/Jim CowsertAdrian Beltre's throw in the second accounted for one of the Rangers' four errors in the inning -- a franchise record.
The night ended with a celebration at home plate after pinch hitter Jurickson Profar delivered a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It vaulted the Rangers to a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and helped them keep pace in the wild-card standings, a game behind the Cleveland Indians and two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rangers got another clutch hit from Leonys Martin, and closer Joe Nathan kept the score tied going into the bottom of the ninth by getting two strikeouts with the go-ahead run at third base in the top half of the inning.

Way before that, the Rangers coughed up a 3-1 lead with four errors in the top of the second. It was the most errors a Texas team has made in an inning in 41 years in Arlington.

One by Mitch Moreland. Two by Ian Kinsler, on the same play. And one by Adrian Beltre.

For some reason, Elvis Andrus forgot to make one for the infield cycle.

The Angels scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead, taking advantage of the first time a team has made four errors in an inning of an American League game since 2007.

The Rangers could have been left in tatters, especially after they grounded into double plays in the fourth and fifth innings with the tying run on third base.

Instead, they found a way to pull out a massive win. They found a way to make a four-error inning a mere footnote to Thursday's game.

"That's what we were talking about earlier," Kinsler said. "It's OK for one aspect of the game not to work if the rest is, if you can overcome it. [Matt] Garza battled out there. We missed some chances to score.

"We won the game. All the other parts are moot. Now we move on to tomorrow."

The Rangers won their fourth straight must-win game because Garza kept his cool after the four-error debacle. As the second inning unraveled, Garza never showed any frustration.

"You just have to keep pitching," Garza said. "Sometimes mistakes happen. You can't let it bring you down. You can't let your shoulders drop, because then your position players' shoulders will drop. You just have to keep your guys in the game as long as you can."

Garza gave up 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings, so the Angels were able to get baserunners on against him. He gave up three straight singles to open the top of the fifth but got a huge out when Craig Gentry threw out Howie Kendrick at home.

Garza then was able to get out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by getting Andrew Romine to fly out to shallow right field and J.B. Shuck to line out to first.

The drama picked up again in the bottom of the sixth when Martin, who had a clutch three-run double for the lead Wednesday night against Houston, came through to cap a two-out rally. He lined a double up the right-center field alley to score Gentry and Adam Rosales for a 5-4 lead.

Tanner Scheppers gave up the lead in the top of the seventh on two straight hits as the Angels tied the score at 5-5. Nathan didn't let things slip away in the top of the ninth.

The Angels had a runner at third with one out after a ugly wild pitch by Nathan and a ground ball to move Josh Hamilton over set up the Halos to play the role of spoiler.

Nathan responded as he usually does, striking out Kole Calhoun and Mark Trumbo. The Rangers' crowd was quiet during much of the inning, almost as if the fans expected something bad to happen -- Texas had lost six out of its last seven road games.

The crowd was loud when Profar's homer went screaming into the night, a majestic drive into the right-field seats.

And those four errors? They disappeared into the stands with Profar's winning homer, never to be seen again.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.327 17 68 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 68
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .880
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182