Gentry wins battle of speed, power

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Make want you want about early season tests. The Rangers, for what it's worth, are acing the Boston Red Sox early-May exam.

The Red Sox still have baseball's best record after losing 5-1 on Saturday night. The Rangers have been the best team in this series, on the mound, at the plate, in the field and lastly making the most of your team speed.

For the second straight night, the Rangers' answer to Boston speed demon Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder Craig Gentry, was a key part of the margin of victory. It was Texas that won the battle of speed.

With two outs and the bases loaded and the game tied at 1-1 in the fourth inning, Gentry used his wheels to beat out a ground ball fielded 15 feet behind third base, scoring Adrian Beltre. He also forced an errant throw from the Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks for the second game in a row, allowing A.J. Pierzynski to come home for a 3-1 lead.

"Speed kills," is all Rangers manager Ron Washington could say when asked about Gentry's sprint down the first baseline creating two runs.

Alexi Ogando and the Rangers' bullpen shut down the Boston offense. The Rangers have outscored Boston 12-1 in two games. The Rangers are 27-12 against the Red Sox since 2009.

These two wins have a different feel with Boston arriving in Arlington with baseball's best record at 20-8. A Rangers' win Sunday with Yu Darvish facing Jon Lester in a marquee pitching matchup would leave both teams at 20-11.

"This is a great ballclub we're playing against," Gentry said. "They're in first place. To come in and take the first two games is a huge momentum swing."

Gentry also provided the thunder, belting a two-run home run off former teammate Koji Uehara in the bottom of the eighth. It was Gentry's third career home run. Yes, he's more of a speed guy than a power guy.

"With two strikes, I was just trying to slow it down," Gentry said. "He left me a fastball up and I was able to square it up."

Gentry never slows down on the base paths. He's forced two bad throws by Middlebrooks. He has two infield singles that have led to runs.

"That's how I play anyway," Gentry said. "I'm going to always run hard and run it out because that's my game. If I can beat something out, I'm going to try. That was big right there with the bases loaded and two outs and we are able to get a couple of runs right there."