"It's definitely weird," said Angels reliever Michael Kohn, who gave up the latest one to Jurickson Profar in Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Rangers. "I personally haven't made pitches here, and I've gotten beat every time I've done that. I'm kind of speechless. It's kind of weird. I really don't know what to say."
The Angels can say they blew an opportunity to crush their division rivals' playoff hopes, though they'll have three other chances.
Tied at 5 in the top of the ninth, with one out and Josh Hamilton on third base, Joe Nathan struck out Kole Calhoun and Mark Trumbo to end the inning. Then, leading off the bottom half as a pinch-hitter, Profar got a 1-1, 95-mph fastball right down the middle and crushed it over the right-field fence to keep the Rangers in the thick of the American League Wild Card race -- one game behind the Indians for the second spot and two back of the Rays.
"I was just trying to have a good at-bat, get on base," Profar said after delivering what was only the Rangers' seventh win in their last 20 games. "I made a perfect swing and it went out."
Jerome Williams battled through five high-stress innings to give up only three first-inning runs and Trumbo went 3-for-5 with his career-high 100th RBI, snapping an 0-for-25 slump. But the Angels -- winners of 23 of 32 heading in, and 16 of their last 20 on the road -- lost in an all-too-familiar fashion.
On July 29, Ernesto Frieri gave up ninth-inning solo homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto in a 4-3 loss. On July 30, the Angels blew four leads and Daniel Stange served up a two-out, three-run shot to Leonys Martin in the 11th inning of a 14-11 loss. On July 31, it was Kohn who checked into a tied game in the ninth and gave up a leadoff homer to Adrian Beltre in a 2-1 loss.
Nearly two months later, in the Angels' next visit to Arlington, almost the exact same scene played out.
"I don't like this place so much," Kohn said after his fourth loss.
The Angels have won just one of their last eight games at Rangers Ballpark dating back to the 2012 finale, the second of a doubleheader on Sept. 30 that crushed their playoff hopes, and their last four have come in the worst possible way.
"It is what it is," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, his club losing on the last at-bat for the 16th time this season. "Those guys battled back and beat us. We haven't held leads the way we can in this ballpark at times, and that's what happens. There are some times we've come in here and played well and held leads. It's just this year has been rough on us."
The Angels built a one-run lead thanks to a three-run second against Matt Garza, the product of a franchise-record four errors in one inning by the Rangers, and Williams left after five in position to reel off his fifth straight victory.
Instead, the 31-year-old right-hander finished the 2013 season with a no-decision -- but on a high note nonetheless.
In his last eight games (seven starts), Williams went 4-1 with a 3.66 ERA to drop his mark to 4.57 in 169 1/3 innings on the year. This December, the Angels will have a tough non-tender decision with Williams, whose due to make about $3 million in his final year of arbitration.
"Hopefully, it pleads my case for next year," he said.
"I have so much respect for what he did any time the team needed it," Scioscia added, "whether it was going to the bullpen or coming out of the bullpen to start or whether he was starting on a couple days' rest at times. This guy was just a great teammate."