"I think it helped, to be honest," Gallardo said. "Coming up here, I'm trying to keep it the same. Just grab the ball and go, and not allowing myself or a hitter to think about things, and execute the game plan we have going into it."
Gallardo saw that approach pay off in the Rangers' series-opening 11-3 win over the White Sox on Friday at Globe Life Park. He struck out seven batters in 7 1/3 innings, which were both season highs. He allowed just four hits and three runs to Chicago, while the Texas bats backed him with five homers and a seven-run second inning.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the biggest takeway from Gallardo's night was that there were 11 instances in which a White Sox hitter saw three pitches or less.
"He induced some ground-ball action, some fly-ball action in those situations, which kept his pitch [count] down," Banister said. "He was extremely efficient. I think the fastball command [was strong], and the tempo was great again tonight. How he got the ball, he's on the mound, he's ready to pitch."
It didn't take long for the Rangers' offense to give Gallardo all the support he would need.
The Rangers hit four home runs off White Sox starter Dylan Covey; three came in the second inning. Rougned Odor hit the first one of the night to give Texas a 1-0 lead, and Robinson Chirinos and Nomar Mazara provided the big blows by each hitting a three-run home run. Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo also went deep in the third.
"It's big," Gallardo said of the run support. "Obviously, the guys put up that zero in the first inning, but then they settled down. This is what they do. This is the kind of offense we have here. It definitely makes it easier, but yet it one of those things where you can't allow it to get out of hand as well. You've just got to keep it tight in the strike zone and get some quick outs."
Choo extended his on-base streak to 41 games by drawing a leadoff walk against Covey. Choo's streak is now the longest in the Majors this season. Philadelphia's Odubel Herrera had a 40-game on-base streak earlier this season. Choo is also tied with Toby Harrah for the third-longest on-base streak in club history.
The Rangers, who are winners of four straight series, have now won four consecutive series openers.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Choo drew a nine-pitch leadoff walk against Covey. The Rangers were held scoreless in the inning, but Chirinos said the walk helped set the tone for Texas' offense.
"It gives everybody a better idea when we go out to hit," Chirinos said. "It seems like that's what Choo's been doing the whole year. Putting up quality at-bats, seeing a lot of pitches, getting on base. Guy's unbelievable."
SOUND SMART The Rangers' five home runs against the White Sox were the second time this month they've hit at least five homers in a game. Texas also hit five home runs against Oakland on June 5.
HE SAID IT "He was in control the whole time. I think he built from that last outing in Minnesota. It was the same thing; he's throwing really well. He's throwing the ball really good." -- Chirinos, on Gallardo's start
UP NEXT Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.72 ERA) will start against the White Sox at 8:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Globe Life Park. Colon is one win shy of matching Dennis Martinez (245) for the most wins by a Latin American pitcher. Lefty Carlos Rodon (1-2, 3.70 ERA) will start for the White Sox.
Wesley Dotson is an associate reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.