Jurickson Profar has blast in debut with HR in first at-bat

CLEVELAND -- Jurickson Profar couldn't have scripted his major league debut any better. After all, he did something that nobody has ever done in a Texas Rangers uniform.

Profar hit a home run in his first career plate appearance, leading off the third inning with a towering shot into the right-field seats at Progressive Field.

That sparked a four-run inning for the Rangers, who went on to an 8-3 victory over the Indians on Sunday.

The Rangers took two of three from the Indians, and have won 11 of their past 15. Texas remained three games ahead of Oakland in the American League West.

Profar was the star of the day, but wasn't in manager Ron Washington's original lineup. The Rangers scratched Ian Kinsler about an hour before the game with lower back stiffness, which allowed Profar to make his big league debut at second base and bat ninth.

Profar retold his meeting with Washington before the game when he found out about the start.

"He said, 'How many games did you play at second this year in Frisco?'" Profar said. "I said 15-20. He said, 'OK, you're going to play second base today.' I was kind of shocked at first, but I was ready for it."

Profar helped turn a double play in the first inning, and then came through in memorable fashion his first time at the plate.

Profar turned on a 2-1 fastball from Indians starter Zach McAllister, and knew it had a chance to clear the fence.

"Once I hit it, I was thinking go, go, go, go," said Profar, who hit 14 home runs at Double A Frisco. "I didn't feel any pressure up there. I got a fastball and put a good swing on it. After the home run, I felt great."

Profar is the second player in franchise history to homer in his first at-bat. Brant Alyea did it with the Washington Senators against the California Angels on Sept. 12, 1965.

At 19 years and 195 days, Profar is the youngest player to hit a home run in the majors since Adrian Beltre homered with the Dodgers on Sept. 25, 1998 at 19 years, 171 days.

"It was great, it was awesome," Beltre said of Profar's homer. "You think about how your first at-bat will be in the big leagues, and that's the perfect way to do it. That's something special."

Washington called Profar a special player and knows that he could become a valuable player off the bench. Profar's role isn't going to change, though, even though he had an impressive debut with a homer and a double his first two at-bats.

"We've got to see how he reacts as a young kid sitting on the bench for days and then having to play," Washington said. "That's not something that's easy to do. But right now, we've got to make sure we keep him focused and ready for another opportunity."

"This kid is blessed. ... Let's not put him in the Hall of Fame yet, but he does have a bright future."

After Profar's blast, the Rangers scored three more runs in the third on an RBI double by Nelson Cruz and two-run single by David Murphy.

The Indians cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third on a two-run homer by Carlos Santana, but the Rangers broke it open with three solo homers in the fifth.

Josh Hamilton and Beltre had back-to-back blasts to start the inning, and Murphy also went deep.

"That's what we needed," Washington said. "We needed to really break out and show our authority in that ballgame and we certainly did that."

The Rangers cushioned their lead with a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Michael Young.

Texas starter Derek Holland won his third consecutive start, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts over seven innings. He retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

Afterward, though, the clubhouse was buzzing about Profar.

"First at-bat a home run? That's pretty impressive," Holland said.

Said Elvis Andrus: "Unbelievable. He looked really calm and didn't seem nervous out there. He's a great player and he's going to play good."Andrus was also the one who greeted Profar with the customary shaving cream pie in the face.

How does shaving cream taste?

"After a win, it tastes great," Profar said, smiling.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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