Profar's game-winning HR boosts his case

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar further fueled the debate about what should happen with him when an injured Ian Kinsler returns, a majestic game-winning home run providing the latest statement.

Profar's timing couldn't have been any better. His two-out solo home run to right field gave the Texas Rangers the lead on the way to a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on a beautiful Sunday in Arlington.

This was Profar's day.

The Rangers had just given up the lead in the top of the eighth when they failed to throw out Alex Gordon on a ground ball to third. The Royals had stung the Rangers with a three-run 10th inning for a 4-1 victory on Saturday.

Enter Profar's dramatic rebuttal. He fell behind with two quick strikes. After taking a curveball for a ball, he was able to foul off a curveball from Royals reliever J.C. Gutierrez, who had retired A.J. Pierzynski and Leonys Martin to start the inning.

Profar then ripped a two-seam fastball that stayed up and outside and lifted it into the right-field seats, a 383-foot bolt of lightning that woke up the Rangers' dugout and the 47,567 in attendance.

"He's not afraid of the game of baseball," Washington said. "Those opportunities like what happened today when he hit that home run are what that young kid lives for."

Profar, as usual, offered few words about his heroics, but his unassuming smile -- also a staple of the 20-year-old -- said it all.

"I was trying to get on base," Profar said. "I guess I did a little better. It's been a good run."

Profar has three home runs in 54 major league at-bats. Is he destined to be a home run hitter in the big leagues?

His bat speed says yes. His manager says wait and see.

"I can't predict that," Washington said. "I know that he has the capability that if a ball is in his area he can hit it out. We have to let him grow and fill in and he'll become exactly what he's supposed to become."

The looming question is whether will Profar stay with the Rangers, or go to Triple-A Round Rock when Kinsler returns from a fractured rib, which could come as soon as next week?

Profar has proven he belongs, batting .324 with two home runs and six RBIs, playing flawless defense and clearly giving the first-place Rangers a spark.

He has soaked up knowledge from his teammates. He has gained their respect, too.

"Not only does he have the talent, he's so open to learning," closer Joe Nathan said. "He's keeping his eyes and ears open. He knows he has to work to stay up here."

Profar said earlier in the week he wants to stay. He added to his case in a big way Sunday.