Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Defining Dozen: Rangers run the table
By Todd Wills
Editor's Note: This is the eighth of a 12-part series titled "Defining Dozen," which looks at the 12 moments that impacted the 2013 season the most. We will count down from 12 to 1. The moments will include highs and lows for the Texas Rangers from a season that lasted until Game 163.
Jurickson Profar's walk-off HR helped Texas finish the regular season on a seven-game win streak.
No. 5: Seven straight wins to end the season.
The Rangers had a pretty good idea they would have to win all seven games on their final homestand of the regular season to have any chance of making the postseason, or at least get themselves in an American League wild-card tiebreaker game.
The Rangers' perfect homestand forced a tiebreaker with Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot, which the Rangers ended up losing 5-2 in Game 163 to end their season.
The Rangers entered the week having lost on a Sunday in Kansas City on a walkoff grand slam by Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell. Ron Washington's team had a create some momentum with a three-game series against Houston.
The Astros were the perfect opponent. The Rangers, who were already 14-2 against Houston, built up steam with a 12-0 victory over the Astros on Monday night. Rios hit for the cycle, finishing it off in six innings, and Derek Holland threw a six-hitter.
Then came a 3-2 win on Tuesday as Adrian Beltre homered and a 7-3 victory on Wednesday as rookie Martin Perez won for the 10th time on the season.
The drama continued to unfold Thursday night against the Angels as Profar electrified the crowd with his sixth home run of the season, a towering shot to right field to finish off a 6-5 victory. The Rangers leaned on the bullpen from there, winning three close games. Neal Cotts won two games and Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan pitched in all four games of the series to force the one-game playoff with the Rays.
The Rangers had to have every win as Cleveland ended the season on a 10-game winning streak -- clinching the first wild-card spot. The Rays lost two games over the weekend at Toronto to allow Texas to pull even for the second spot.
"I believe in [momentum]," catcher Geovany Soto said after the game as the Rangers forced a Game 163. "I believe the team is coming together more than ever."
The Rangers didn't beat the Rays, but they did show determination in any forcing the extra game against Tampa Bay.