Rangers muscle up to top Tribe in finale

Rangers muscle up to top Tribe in finale

Rangers muscle up to top Tribe in finale
CLEVELAND -- Jurickson Profar couldn't remove the smile from his face. The 19-year-old stood at his locker, the last remaining evidence of shaving cream resting on the tips of his hair and the collar of his shirt.

First, the Rangers were offered a glimpse of their bright future. Then, they provided a reminder that their present crop of hitters isn't too shabby, either.

Profar, Texas' top-ranked prospect, sprayed a 388-foot homer to right field in his first Major League at-bat, sparking an offensive onslaught in an 8-3 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field on Sunday.

"He stepped into the Major League box and it didn't seem like it fazed him," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "It's the game he's been playing his entire life and he just continued to play it. That's special."

The Rangers promoted Profar on Saturday from Double-A Frisco, where he was batting .281 with 14 homers and 26 doubles. When Ian Kinsler was scratched shortly before Sunday's contest with lower back stiffness, Washington summoned the rookie from Curacao. On a 2-1 pitch to lead off the third inning, Profar became the first Rangers player to club one over the fence in his first career trip to the plate.

"I felt like I didn't have to do much when I went to the plate," said Profar, who became the third player in the league this season to homer in his first at-bat. "I trust these guys, so I didn't feel any pressure. I got a fastball and I put a good swing on it."

Texas followed the teenager's lead and poured on three more runs in the third inning. Nelson Cruz plated Michael Young with a double over the head of Indians right fielder Thomas Neal, who collected an RBI double in his Major League debut on Sunday. Left fielder David Murphy, who recorded his 11th multihit game in his past 16 starts, drove in a pair of runs with an ensuing single.

The Rangers jumped all over Tribe right-hander Zach McAllister (5-6, 4.26 ERA) in the fifth. In a span of seven pitches, Texas hitters socked three home runs. Center fielder Josh Hamilton trotted around the bases for the 37th time this season on McAllister's first pitch of the inning. Third baseman Adrian Beltre followed with a solo shot to left four pitches later. It was the third time this season that the duo has hit back-to-back long balls. After a flyout by Cruz, Murphy skied a first-pitch fastball to the seats in right field to push Texas' lead to 7-2.

"That's what we needed," Washington said. "We needed to really break out and show our authority in that ballgame today, and we certainly did that. We did it in the way that we're capable of doing it."

The Rangers entered Sunday's action ranked seventh in the Majors in home runs, though perhaps no one expected Profar to join in on the fun so quickly. He became the third teenager to ever homer in his first at-bat, and the youngest player to homer since Beltre did at the age of 19 years, 171 days for the Dodgers on Sept. 25, 1998. Profar's debut came at the age of 19 years, 195 days, the exact age at which phenom Bryce Harper suited up for the Nationals earlier this season.

Profar doubled in his second trip to the dish and flied out in his last two plate appearances. He was late arriving to the batter's box his third time up. Washington said that "Mother Nature called."

"I guess his stomach was turning over because he hit a double and a bomb," Washington said, joking. "I guess he couldn't handle it."

Texas' power display proved to be plenty of backing for southpaw Derek Holland, who ran his record to 10-6 in front of about 50 friends and family members. Holland hails from Newark, Ohio, a little more than two hours south of Cleveland. The 25-year-old limited the Indians to two runs on seven hits in seven innings, improving his career record to 3-0 against the Tribe.

"I feel like I'm becoming more consistent," said Holland, who has won three straight decisions. "I had to get into a groove and I feel like I'm getting into that groove now."

Holland's only mistake came in the third inning, when Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana lined a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. After left fielder Russ Canzler followed with a double, Washington strolled to the mound to confirm that his hurler wasn't losing his focus.

"Derek has to try to do that for himself," Washington said, "but there are times when you have to go out there and milk your baby."

In taking two of three from the Tribe, Texas (79-54) tied a franchise mark for its best record through 133 contests.

"They're probably the best team, period," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Their lineup is so deep. Their bench is good. Their defense -- how do you get a ball through that infield, especially the left side? It's pretty tough. ... They have a very good team. You don't go back-to-back years to the World Series, it's not a coincidence. They should go very deep, if not go back to the Series again. They're that good."

After the latest victory, shortstop Elvis Andrus, who extended his hitting streak against the Indians to 29 games, engulfed the league's freshest face with a shaving cream pie.

Profar, soaking up the moment, didn't mind.

"It felt good, after a win," Profar said.

Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.