Clutch homers from Choo, Gallo lift Rangers

August 3rd, 2020

Manager Chris Woodward said the Rangers need to be better offensively and it didn’t matter if Rougned Odor and Danny Santana were out of the lineup. This season is too short for a team to endure a prolonged offensive slump.

The Rangers, after scoring 18 runs in their first seven games, broke out on a Sunday afternoon, led by two hitters they count on to lead the way.

and both came through with big home runs and the Rangers avoided being swept at Oracle Field with a 9-5 victory over the Giants. The nine runs were a season high and this was just the second time the Rangers hit at least two home runs in a game.

“It was pretty positive all around,” Woodward said. “Offensively it was good, quality at-bats. We put ourselves in some situations to do some damage.” 

Gallo had a slow Summer Camp after a late start because of his positive test for COVID-19 but is starting to do the necessary damage needed in the middle of the order. He was 3-for-4 on Sunday and is 9-for-29 (.310) with three home runs and eight RBIs after eight games.

“It’s pretty special what he is doing right now,” Woodward said. “He’s the best player on the field when he steps out there. Everything he is doing right now is showing our team: ‘Jump on my back. I’m the best player in baseball.’ There may not be a more talented player in all of baseball, realistically.

“I know Trout is good and Mookie Betts ... but Joey is with size, with power, with speed, with arm, he's got all of it. And now he's got a tremendous approach in the batter's box. He doesn't chase pitches. He stays in the strike zone. Those are the kind of things that if he starts doing that, it is pretty scary how good this guy could be.”

The Rangers had more than just big home runs. Scott Heineman, filling in for Santana, had a two-run double in the second, and Jeff Mathis, hitting in the No. 9 spot, drove him home with a single. Woodward also loved Willie Calhoun’s seventh-inning sacrifice fly off a left-handed reliever just as much as the Gallo home run that followed.

Choo’s two-run home run to give the Rangers a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija was also impressive. Choo’s shot had a 110.1 mph exit velocity, sailing over the right-field wall and splashing down in McCovey Cove.

While the kayakers and rafters fought over the ball. Choo jogged around the bases having been the 50th opposing player to ever reach the cove. The last by a Rangers player was Odor on Aug. 24, 2018.

“Choo looks pretty good right now,” Woodward said. “He could have four home runs right now. He got robbed on one at our place and hit one the next day he said was hit even harder. The consistency is starting to show. When Choo’s going good, he controls the strike zone, he gets on base and hits home runs. We are starting to see a little bit of that.”

The Rangers also stayed resilient after the Giants rallied from being down 5-1 to tie the score on Chadwick Tromp’s two-run home run in the sixth. The Rangers struck back immediately in the seventh. Giants reliever Andrew Triggs walked the bases loaded to start the inning and Calhoun put the Rangers ahead with a sacrifice fly off left-hander Tyler Anderson.

Gallo, with runners at the corners, fell behind 0-2 to Anderson before driving a 91 mph fastball over the center-field wall. The home run had an exit velocity of 109 mph and a projected distance of 422 feet.

“You don’t get too many 0-2 mistakes so you have to be ready for it,” Gallo said. “When I went down 0-2 with a guy on third, I’m just thinking, 'Got to put the ball in play. I’ve got to score this run.'”

This was Gallo’s second career home run on an 0-2 pitch, the other coming off Gerrit Cole last year. All three of Gallo’s home runs this season have come off left-handers.

“After they put up a pretty big inning and started to get momentum on their side, you could feel when we scored those four runs, momentum started going our way,” Gallo said. “It was a huge boost for us. We grinded out a few at-bats and ended up scoring some runs. It was a pretty good win.”