ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers needed a rally in the eighth inning to put away the Oakland A's, 4-3, on Friday night.
Down 2-0 in the eighth, the Rangers loaded the bases with a one-out single from Elvis Andrus and walks from Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. Then, Nelson Cruz brought Andrus home with a walk of his own.
"In that situation, everybody is more focused," Cruz said. "Whatever we need to do, just get on base."
"We kept grinding and kept girding," Ron Washington said. "Cruz got the big walk. Then, Gentry gets the big hit. That's why you play nine innings, and we played nine innings tonight."
The triple would not have fallen if Yoenis Cespedes had not misread it. The left fielder for the A's came in first and by the time he turned around to chase the ball on the warning track, there was no way he could catch it.
"I knew I hit decent, but to be honest with you I thought he was going to catch it," Gentry said. "I guess he ran in on it real quick and luckily I was able to get it over his head."
Gentry has the best batting average of any hitter on the roster at .356. He has been on fire in the month of June, hitting .462 going into Friday's game.
"The thing about Gentry is that he's always ready," Washington said. "He doesn't get mentally beat when he's not in the lineup. He stays focused, and tonight, he gave us two good at-bats. He gets the triple to win the game for us. That's why we have 25 men on this team, so they can all play as one."
The rally assured Matt Harrison his 11th win of the season, which is tied for first in the majors. Gentry said that the offense wanted to reward Harrison for pitching a gem.
"He pitched a great game," Gentry said. "Their guy came out and he kept us off balance, but luckily we were able to come back and get some runs on the board for Harry."
The Rangers would not have had to rally in the eighth if it had not been for the lone dark spot in the game. Mike Napoli struck out three times with runners in scoring position. He had chances to put the Rangers up in the second with the bases loaded and in the seventh with runners at first and second. It seems only fitting that Napoli struck out swinging to end the eighth inning with Gentry on third base.
Luckily for Napoli and Harrison, the offense bailed them out with some uncharacteristic patience and solid hitting from their hottest reserve player.