Craig Gentry has been a busy guy lately. The Texas Rangers' fourth outfielder has started in six of the team's last eight games and even found himself on the mound in a blowout loss last week in Oakland, pitching one inning.
But what he did Wednesday night was the biggest single contribution he's made to the Rangers this year, driving in the team's lone run in the bottom of the eighth inning to "break open" a scoreless game with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gentry's hot shot to third found its way into left field and scored Mike Napoli from second base. Matt Harrison didn't get the win after pitching 7 1/3 innings, but a loss would've spoiled a gargantuan effort from Harrison as the Rangers won 1-0 after Mike Adams and Joe Nathan slammed the door shut.
After all of that, Gentry, or his alter ego "Kitten Face" (a brainchild of the late, great Michael Gruber (@tweetgrubes) was trending in DFW on Twitter. Not bad for a guy who was battling for a spot on the big-league roster in spring training.
Gentry has taken full advantage of his stretch in the limelight, hitting .500 in his last six starts to bump his season average all the way up to .340. He also has eight stolen bases and is a virtual lock to swipe second at any point the Rangers need it.
"I'm enjoying it," Gentry told reporters after the game Wednesday. "I'm just playing my game, having fun and luckily I've been able to play well. Hopefully I can keep it going and just stay confident."
That's the thing about Gentry, he doesn't complain about playing time and understands his role on the team, which is to back up Josh Hamilton center field and help spell Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. Right now, Gentry is hot, and Rangers manager Ron Washington is going to ride him.
"In the past four or five days we’ve been having to push him into a little more action and he’s handled it well," Washington told reporters. "He's had some big hits for us, made some good defensive plays, ran the bases. He’s using his skills."