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Gutierrez saves the day with leaping grab

Gutierrez saves the day with leaping grab

ARLINGTON -- Franklin Gutierrez says he doesn't rank his highlight-reel catches. If he did, he might have a new No. 1.

Gutierrez added to his collection in Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Rangers, racing into the treacherous right-center-field corner at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington just in time to make a leaping grab of an Elvis Andrus line drive that was headed over the fence.

"You could hear a pin drop when he caught that," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "Unbelievable."

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It's nothing new for Gutierrez, who made two sensational catches in Friday's loss to the Rangers, one a sliding catch and the other a more conventional running catch.

But Saturday's game, because of the moment -- the Mariners had just rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead -- and the fact that a home run would have extended the game, moved it up the list in Gutierrez's eyes. And by the way, the 27-year-old center fielder had the go-ahead single in the top of the ninth.

But everyone after the game wanted to talk about the catch.

What makes the play even more remarkable than it was is the dimensions of the field in right-center -- the wall makes a diagonal shift at the 377-foot sign near the home bullpen. There's also a jet stream at Rangers Ballpark that flows right in that direction, pushing the ball away from the center and right fielder.

"It was tough," Gutierrez said. "He hit it pretty good. I know the ball was pretty much over the fence. I jumped and made the catch. That's amazing that if I didn't catch it that time, it's a tie game."

Gutierrez's grab received rave reviews in the clubhouse after the game. Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, a nine-time Gold Glove outfielder, said there's no reason to try to explain it.

"Everyone can see that's a fantastic catch," Suzuki said. "It's a tough play. You have the wall right in front of you. Plus there's the diagonal. It's a very tricky ballpark and it's not our home ballpark."

Ken Griffey Jr., who has one more Gold Glove than Suzuki, said he started laughing when he saw the ball land in Gutierrez's glove.

"He's done it more times than I can remember," Griffey said. "To be able to do it at that moment, it's cool."

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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