García, Gallo go deep and other takeaways

June 21st, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' two biggest home run hitters in and delivered on Sunday, launching back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough as Texas fell, 4-2, to the Twins at Globe Life Field. 

The Rangers fell into an early 2-0 hole in the first inning and were never able to dig themselves out of it on the offensive end, despite the two long balls. Texas only had one other extra-base hit -- a García double in the first inning -- and stranded him in scoring position.

After taking three of four in Minnesota back in May, the Twins completed the sweep in Texas over the three-game series. The Rangers now sit 18 games back from the American League West-leading Astros and A’s. Oakland heads into town Monday for a four-game series.

Here are three takeaways following the Rangers' loss, which extended their losing streak to six games.

Need production from more people at the plate

Since sitting at 18-18 on May 9, the Rangers have gone 7-28. That’s in part because the offense is struggling to get support from the top to the bottom of the lineup. The same names are continually showing up in the hits and the RBIs column.

García and Gallo were the only two Rangers with multi-hit games, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nate Lowe each added a hit of their own. Over the past 30 games, the trio of Kiner-Falefa, Gallo and García are the only Texas hitters with double-digit RBIs, while Kiner-Falefa and García are the only ones with more than 20 hits.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he understands that each individual player has their own issues, but the squad needs to be better as a whole.

“We're going to have to get production up and down,” Woodward said. “We can’t just rely on a couple of heavy hitters. First of all, it's too much pressure on them. At the same time, sometimes they're allowed to have a day where they go 0-for-4. Like I said, we're not going to win consistently if we continue to have just production from a few guys.”

Dunning’s first-inning struggles continue

’s struggles in the first have manifested themselves all season and that continued against the Twins. Woodward and Dunning have both said previously that it’s more about his mindset than anything physical he may be doing differently to start the game.

Against the Twins, he allowed two runs on four hits -- including a two-run homer from Byron Buxton -- in the first inning en route to allowing a career-high 10 hits throughout his outing. That brings his total to 18 runs in the first inning this season.

Woodward said he felt the 26-year-old rookie was trying to be too “fine” with his pitches and couldn’t find his command early on. Dunning agreed but said he felt like he got ahead of batters and struggled with putting them away by trying to force a putaway pitch.

Dunning said he felt like he was executing his pitches how he wanted for the most part, getting 14 swings and misses, good for his second highest total of the season.

“I’ve just got to execute pitches, especially later in counts and when I was ahead in counts,” Dunning said. “I gave up a lot of hits that were when I was ahead in counts, and I can't do that ... I felt like for the most part I was executing my pitches well. It was just, once I got to an 0-2 or 1-2 count, I was trying to put away guys, and pitches were either hung or just left in the zone.”

Joey’s still got pop

The Rangers got a full Gallo experience on Sunday: He went 2-for-3 at the plate with a homer and a single. He also walked and struck out.

Gallo’s 431-foot blast in the sixth inning almost went into the suite level at Globe Life Field, hitting the ribbon scoreboard that wraps around the stadium. There’s been much to say about Gallo’s year, with a slash line of .220/.379/.408 and .787 OPS, but the homers didn’t stop coming. He trails only García for the team lead in home runs after knocking his 12th of the season.

After a slow start to his season, it seems like Gallo’s is finally picking up steam as he hopes to get back to his 2019 All-Star form. In his past seven games, he’s slashing .320/.469/.480.

“[Joey’s season is] progressing nicely to a positive note,” Woodward said. “I know that early on, he was walking a ton and he wasn't slugging a lot, but I think right now we’re seeing more consistency. I think just in general his attitude is a lot more calm. That’s typical. When Joey’s doing well, he’s pretty calm. We are starting to see that right now.

“There's a more complete version of Joey right now. There's a little bit more of a calmness about him that he kind of understands who he is and what [other teams are] trying to do with him.”