Texas Rangers

Rangers finish first week on upswing behind Joey Gallo’s 5 RBIs

Joey Gallo discusses his career-high 5 RBI day

Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo was 2 for 4 with a three-run homer and two-run single in a 8-1 win over the Athletics on Sunday at Globe Life Park (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
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Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo was 2 for 4 with a three-run homer and two-run single in a 8-1 win over the Athletics on Sunday at Globe Life Park (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

The Texas Rangers gave an otherwise disappointing first week a nice sheen Sunday afternoon. For once, all three parts of the team were in cahoots in an 8-1 win over the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park.

Starting pitcher Martin Perez pitched  5 1/3 scoreless innings, the bullpen did its job, the defense did not commit an error, and the offense, led by Joey Gallo, put up more than enough runs.

Gallo had a career-high five RBIs, including a three-run homer in the second and a two-run single in the sixth, to give the Rangers a commanding 6-0 lead. Robinson Chirinos had the other three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the eighth.

I would get pretty hung up on strikeouts and get upset about them. Now I’ve kind of learned that they’re going to happen and to not let it escalate into the next day or the next at-bat or the next week.

Rangers 3B Joey Gallo

“It’s always great to take the series,” said Gallo, whose homer against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea was his first against a lefty since June 3, 2015, against the White Sox’s Zach Duke.

“There were some close games against Cleveland that could have gone either way. I think this series things went our way a little more. We were a little more determined to win these games. We didn’t want to start off 0 and whatever.”

The Rangers now embark on their first road trip of 2017, beginning Tuesday with a three-game series in Anaheim. They went 2-4 on the homestand after being swept in the season-opening series by the Indians. Through their first six games, they’ve scored 33 runs and allowed 33 runs, including 15 earned runs by the bullpen.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Joey Gallo has steadily built up confidence over the spring after changing his approach at the plate during the off-season (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

“It was pretty rough homestand to get the year started off,” said Mike Napoli, who is hitting .091 with two RBIs and 11 strikeouts the first six games. “But it’s how baseball is. You want to minimize the tough times, but we know what we have to do. We’re a confident group. We’re confident in each other. Everyone has each other’s back in this clubhouse, so it’s nothing we’re worried about.”

Closer Sam Dyson, who struggled in his first two outings earlier in the week, pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday to close a better overall outing from the bullpen. The A’s scored their only run on a wild pitch by Matt Bush in the eighth, which pulled them within 6-1. Chirinos’ two-run homer in the bottom of the inning more than made up for it.

The Rangers begin their first road trip Tuesday in Anaheim. They play three against the Angels, three against the Mariners and three against the A’s before returning to Globe Life Park on April 20.

Jose Leclerc replaced Perez with one out and runners on second and third after a single and a double in the sixth. The 23-year-old reliever remained composed and struck out Josh Phegley with three consecutive changeups down in the zone and forced pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to fly out to right.

“That’s why he came in the game today in that situation and [it showed] our confidence in him and his confidence in himself,” said manager Jeff Banister, who compared his mannerisms to the unflappable Nomar Mazara. “He doesn’t seem to be fazed.”

Gallo doesn’t seem fazed either. After devoting his off-season and spring camp to a new approach at the plate, he has shown a slow build of confidence.

Rangers left-hander Martin Perez discusses his mindset after holding the A's scoreless on six hits and three walks in an 8-1 win Sunday at Globe Life Park (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

“I’ve kind of taken a lot of pressure off myself and allowed myself to be human a little bit and make mistakes and fail and come at it again the next day,” said Gallo, who said during the post-game interview on Fox Sports Southwest that it felt like a weight was off his shoulders. “That’s what that means. I would get pretty hung up on strikeouts and get upset about them. Now, I’ve kind of learned that they’re going to happen and to not let it escalate into the next day or the next at-bat or the next week.

“If I strike out, I strike out. But pitchers are good up here too. I try not to wear it on my sleeve anymore and accept it.”

7Runs batted in for Joey Gallo, second only to Nomar Mazara’s team-high nine through the first six games.

Gallo’s single in the sixth came on an 0-2 count, the first time in 44 plate appearances he’s had a hit in that situation. He walked in two others.

The hit also showed how far he has come since last season, which “went about as bad as it could have possibly gone” for him personally, he said.

“It’s just important when I get to two strikes that I’m not panicking. Before I’d panic and [think] I can’t strike out,” he said. “So now it’s more of an approach where it’s two strikes, that’s okay, he’s still got to throw a strike. Just put the bat on the ball. Instead of being upset if I strike out or scared of it, I’m just kinda going up there and letting things happen.”

Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish hits some of the highlights of his start Saturday against Oakland (video by Jeff Wilson).

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

Oakland

000

000

010

1

8

3

Texas

030

003

02x

8

7

0

Oakland AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Semien ss

5

0

1

0

0

2

.227

R.Davis cf

3

0

0

0

2

1

.148

Healy 1b

5

0

0

0

0

0

.143

K.Davis dh

4

1

2

0

0

2

.360

Lowrie 2b

3

0

0

0

1

1

.333

Plouffe 3b

4

0

1

0

0

2

.174

Canha rf-lf

3

0

1

0

0

1

.083

Phegley c

4

0

2

0

0

1

.286

Rosales lf

1

0

1

0

1

0

.500

Joyce ph-rf

2

0

0

0

0

1

.158

Totals 34

1

8

0

4

11

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Gomez cf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.136

Andrus ss

4

0

1

0

1

0

.286

Mazara rf

3

1

0

0

1

1

.417

Napoli dh

4

0

0

0

1

3

.091

Odor 2b

4

1

0

0

0

1

.318

Rua 1b

3

3

2

0

1

1

.222

Chirinos c

3

2

2

3

1

1

.333

Gallo 3b

4

1

2

5

0

1

.200

DeShields lf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Totals 33

8

7

8

5

12

E—Manaea (1), Semien (1), Healy (1). LOB—Oakland 11, Texas 8. 2B—Canha (1). HR—Gallo (2), off Manaea; Chirinos (1), off Coulombe. RBIs—Chirinos 3 (3), Gallo 5 (7). SB—DeShields (1). Runners left in scoring position—Oakland 8 (R.Davis, K.Davis 2, Canha, Joyce 4); Texas 6 (Gomez 2, Napoli 2, Odor 2). RISP—Oakland 1 for 10; Texas 2 for 8. GIDP—Healy. DP—Texas 1 (Andrus, Odor, Rua).

Oakland

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Manaea L, 0-1

5 1/3

3

6

5

2

10

86

7.15

Montas

1 2/3

1

0

0

2

1

29

0.00

Coulombe

1

3

2

2

1

1

33

6.00

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Perez W, 1-1

5 1/3

6

0

0

3

6

92

2.38

Leclerc H, 1

 2/3

0

0

0

0

1

9

0.00

Jeffress

1

0

0

0

0

0

10

7.71

Bush

1

2

1

1

0

3

29

4.91

Dyson

1

0

0

0

1

1

12

36.00

Inherited runners-scored—Montas 3-3, Leclerc 2-0. HBP—Manaea 2 (Gomez,Mazara), Bush (Canha). WP—Manaea, Bush. Umpires—Home, Ron Kulpa; First, Ed Hickox; Second, Chris Conroy; Third, Jerry Meals. T—3:16. A—36,905 (48,114).

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