Triple plays are rare enough to begin with. Jurickson Profar and the Texas Rangers turned one that was especially unusual Thursday night.
In fact, it had been more than a century since there was another one like it in the majors.
“It was an all-around heads-up play by Profar,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “Very slow heartbeat in that moment.”
Profar started the defensive gem at third base and later homered to help the Rangers rally from an early five-run deficit for an 8-6 victory over the Angels.
Texas pulled off the sixth triple play in franchise history in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, David Fletcher hit a low liner toward third that Profar picked on a short hop. Playing near the bag, he stepped on third to force out Eric Young Jr. and then tagged Taylor Ward, who had stumbled off the base into foul territory. Profar then threw to second baseman Rougned Odor, who tagged Kole Calhoun between first and second.
“Every runner thought it was a line drive,” Profar said, “so that's why we got the triple play.”
It was the majors' first triple play without retiring the batter since June 3, 1912, when the Brooklyn Dodgers turned the trick against the Cincinnati Reds.
“Yeah, it was kind of confusing the way it happened,” Fletcher said.
Odor singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth after an out call that would have ended the inning was reversed. Nomar Mazara went deep in his return from the disabled list, and Joey Gallo also homered for the Rangers.
Texas scored three runs in the eighth as Justin Anderson (3-3), the seventh of eight Angels pitchers in a “bullpen game,” allowed the first four batters to reach base.
The Angels, whose starting rotation has been decimated by injuries all season, are 0-6 in “bullpen games.”
Career reliever Taylor Cole, making his second career start, both this week, was staked to a 5-0 lead when Texas starter Ariel Jurado allowed the first five Angels batters to score. But Cole retired only three of eight batters.
Matt Moore (2-6) followed Jurado with two scoreless innings for his first win since April 17 and the 29-year-old's first career victory in relief.
Of the Angels' eight pitchers, only Noe Ramirez worked two innings.