Web Gem: Craig Gentry makes play of year

The Rangers will certainly make other great defensive plays this season. Third baseman Adrian Beltre is a perennial Gold Glover. Shortstop Elvis Andrus is as good as it gets at his position.

It will be difficult to top center fielder Craig Gentry's diving catch on a sinking line drive that clinched Tuesday night's 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It was certainly the biggest catch of this year," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Tuesday night after the game. "Saved the game for us."

Gentry's catch was amazing on many fronts -- degree of difficulty, the risk/reward involved -- and it kept the Rangers from a blowing a four-run ninth-inning lead after getting down to the last strike on five consecutive Cubs hitters.

Let's start with the degree of difficulty involved. Gentry got an exceptional jump on the sinking liner off the bat of the Cubs' Darwin Barney. That gave Gentry a chance. Still, the ball was tailing away from Gentry, and that's where his speed closed the gap.

"To get that final out was a little tough for us," Gentry said. "But luckily I was able to get a good jump on it and catch it. It was a big sense of relief."

There was also the risk-reward involved. If Gentry had made a dive and missed and the ball had gotten past him, it may well have cleared the bases (Cubs catcher Welington Castillo was running from first and might not have scored). If he pulls up and let's the ball drop, at worst it ties the game and the Rangers are headed to extra innings.

"He has to go right there; that’s one of the times when you dive and you have to," Washington said. "You just got to. It gets by you, that’s the way it is."

Gentry gave the diving catch high marks. It kept closer Joe Nathan from blowing a save and the Rangers from suffering one of their worst losses in recent memory.

"In the situation, it’s definitely a big catch, it ends the game right there," Gentry said. "If that ball drops we’re probably still playing right now. Given the situation, it’s probably a top five or six (all-time catch for me)."