ARLINGTON -- Joey Gallo said this was bigger than his Major League debut two years ago when he went 3-for-4 with a home run.A walk-off home run and a bucket of ice water over his head, courtesy of Elvis Andrus, can be quite memorable. That's what Gallo experienced on Friday
ARLINGTON -- Joey Gallo said this was bigger than his Major League debut two years ago when he went 3-for-4 with a home run.
A walk-off home run and a bucket of ice water over his head, courtesy of Elvis Andrus, can be quite memorable. That's what Gallo experienced on Friday night thanks to a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics at Globe Life Park. The win was Texas' fourth straight.
"Yeah, this is cooler than my debut," Gallo said. "There is something about hitting a walk-off home run, everybody goes home happy. It was a lot of fun. It was a terrific feeling. I just looked in to the dugout and everybody was screaming."
The Rangers trailed, 2-1, as they came to the plate in the ninth, before rallying against closer Santiago Casilla. It came one night after Mike Napoli hit a walk-off, three-run home run in a similar 5-2 win over the Padres. It's the fourth time in Rangers history they have won back-to-back games on walk-off homers.
"They've got a good crowd," A's catcher Josh Phegley said. "They've got a lot of energy behind them, and they go up to the plate in the ninth inning thinking they can win the game. They're a tough team to beat. When you're ahead, you've got to close the door."
Gallo's home run was electrifying, and it culminated what may have been his most disciplined at-bat in the Majors yet, considering the circumstances. Gallo is not known for his plate discipline, but this was worthy of the most patient veteran hitter. He worked the count full, before getting a pitch to hit and sending it off the right-field foul pole.
"I believe it's one of those at-bats for a young player that's finding his way in the big leagues to not chase at some of the chase pitches," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Not chase at the fastball up, the split down -- to continue to look for something that he can drive, stay extremely patient. It was one of the better patient at-bats that we've seen."
The Rangers tied the game on Napoli's sac fly, and after Carlos Gomez doubled, Gallo came to the plate with runners on second and third with one out. With first base open, A's manager Bob Melvin went to the mound to discuss the situation and ultimately decided not to walk Gallo.
"He's a good hitter, but he's a bigger strikeout guy, and he's not trying to give in right there," Melvin said.
"I was definitely wondering why they didn't put me on," Gallo said. "Maybe they knew something I didn't know. I guess I've got a big weakness. I just wanted to get the run home. I didn't want to put one out of the stadium. … Anything to get the run home. The big thing is I wanted to make sure he threw me strikes and not swing and hope it was a strike and get myself out."
Gallo fell behind 1-2 in the count before crushing a full-count breaking ball.
"An incredible swing on a pitch," Banister said. "I felt like he didn't get too big, stayed on the ball, showed the type of power that he has. It's one of those grow-up moments for a young player."
The exit velocity was 112.9 miles per hour, according to Statcast™. That's only the third hardest hit home run this season for Gallo, and he still has the top four on the Rangers.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.