HOUSTON -- A 97.3 mph outfield assist from Joey Gallo to get Chas McCormick out at home extended the Rangers' extra-inning game against the Astros Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros ended up winning an inning later, 4-3, after Brett Martin's wild pitch allowed Myles Straw to score in the 11th.
The 97.3 mph velocity, per Statcast, was tied for the fastest throw on an outfield assist since the start of the 2020 season (with Roman Quinn, on May 2, 2021). The throw, which came with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning and completed a double play, sent the game to the 11th, but the Rangers once again failed to put runs on the board.
“There's not too many right fielders that are making that throw,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “The one thing he's really good at is when the game's on the line or when we need it, he puts it right on the bag. He gives our catcher, wherever he's throwing the ball, a good chance to get a guy out. With the game on the line like that to make that come through, it's pretty special.”
Rangers starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz -- who allowed eight hits and three runs in five innings -- said he knew as soon as the ball was hit that it was to the wrong guy and they shouldn’t even try to run on Gallo. He said he wouldn’t be shocked if Gallo -- who was a pitcher in high school throwing 93 mph -- could throw it even harder than the 97.3 mph.
“Things like [Gallo’s throw] just get the boys going,” Foltynewicz said. “It got me going inside here in the clubhouse with the rest of the guys. He probably just wanted to be more accurate, I know he just wanted to be on the money. Ninety-seven is pretty dang impressive. He's a treasure out there in right field and it's just cool to watch all these guys playing. Just, you know, Gold Glove plays and all that stuff, so it's cool.”
Willie Calhoun hit a home run on the very first pitch of the game, driving a four-seamer 361 feet into the right-field stands. The Rangers scored one run in each of the first three innings, before the offense faltered. Astros starter Cristian Javier retired 13 straight Texas batters from the third to the seventh inning.
Woodward said he felt like the Rangers pressured Javier really well early in the game, but weren’t able to break it open. With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the second inning, Texas was only able to score one run on a sacrifice fly from Jose Trevino.
“We kind of had them on the ropes there with bases loaded and nobody out,” Woodward said. “To only score one there, I felt like that was kind of where we let them off the hook a little bit. I felt like we could have won the game and broke it wide open right there with a big hit.”
The two clubs sat at a 3-3 stalemate from the fourth inning until the Astros broke through on the decisive wild pitch.
The Rangers had runners on first and third in the 10th inning with no outs, and again had runners on first and second with no outs in the 11th, but couldn't take a lead. Woodward called the 10th inning a “perfect storm” situation for Houston and not for the Rangers.
With automatic runner Charlie Culberson taking his lead down the third-base line after advancing on a wild pitch, Khris Davis hit a bouncing grounder directly to Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. As Culberson hustled back to the base, Bregman proceeded to turn a 5-4-3 double play. Bryan Abreu then struck out Nick Solak to end the inning.
“The way the ball took [Culberson] back to third, he had zero momentum,” Woodward said. “He's literally standing there on the base and Bregman has a really quick release, so he was throwing the ball the second before Charlie could even get off third. It was just honestly a perfect storm, and Charlie really had his hands tied right there as far as being able to try to go home.”