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Hamilton's acrobatic grab lifts Rangers

Hamilton's acrobatic grab lifts Rangers

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ARLINGTON -- Katy Hamilton has asked her husband to be careful and stop running into walls. He won't listen.

"Honey ... I want to win," Josh Hamilton told her.

The Rangers did win on Sunday, in large part because Hamilton was willing to run into the wall to make an absolutely spectacular catch in the seventh inning of a 3-0 victory over the Angels. The defensive gem by their center fielder was the talk of the clubhouse after the Rangers had completed a three-game sweep of the Angels.

"[That was] one of the most unbelievable catches I've ever seen," left fielder David Murphy said.

"He had no concern about his body," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "He was going to catch that ball."

"A great catch ... especially in a game situation like that," said Andruw Jones, who has made more than a few great catches of his own in his Gold Glove career.

Hamilton, who missed two weeks of action because of a strained left ribcage that occurred when he ran into a wall in Toronto on April 21, was just activated on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Hamilton suffered a slightly strained right groin muscle as he came off the wall, but he doesn't think it will be serious. He said he expects to play on Tuesday against the Tigers.

"You get so wrapped up in the game and wanting to do well as far as the team winning," Hamilton said. "That's the most important thing. If I have to run into a wall once in a while and tweak parts of my body ... that's OK."

The catch occurred with one out in the top of the seventh. The game was scoreless, and Gary Matthews Jr. had just reached on a single. Howard Kendrick then worked the count full against Rangers reliever Jason Jennings.

"It was a big moment in the game," Jennings said. "A 3-2 count and I didn't [want to] walk him, so I left something over the plate."

Kendrick crushed it deep to right-center field.

"Gary was already around second, and I was going to try for three," Kendrick said. "When I hit it, I didn't think he had a chance."

Right fielder Nelson Cruz didn't think so, either.

"[That was] crazy," Cruz said. "I didn't think he had a chance to get there."

Hamilton didn't think. The one fortunate thing is the Rangers outfielders were playing "no doubles." That means they were playing extra deep, giving Hamilton a chance as the ball soared toward the wall.

"I just kept running and running and running," Hamilton said. "I guess you know I'm not scared of the wall. It was just one of those things where the ball got to the wall and I got to the wall at the same time."

Hamilton, the ball and the wall all met at the corner in front of the home bullpen, just to the right of the angle where it meets the center-field wall. That spot is 407 feet away from home plate, the deepest part of the park. Hamilton went high into the air, made a backhanded catch and went tumbling to the warning track while holding on to the baseball.

"[That was] game-saving," manager Ron Washington said. "That saved the game. If that ball doesn't get caught and a run scores, there's no telling what would have happened."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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