When Keona Kela’s two-out, two-strike, bases-loaded in the ninth inning pitch landed in the stands in right field to tie the game at 6-6, a game the Rangers led 6-0 at one time, it looked like the sucker punch would be fatal.
But Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the twelfth inning to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat that had been pulled out of the jaws of victory.
Don’t look now but Joey Gallo has turned himself into the offensive hero of the Rangers. As Rangers radio announcer Jared Sandler pointed out before the game, Gallo had reached base in 12 of his previous 13 games, batting .302 in that stretch, with an on-base percentage of .412 and an OPS of 1.109.
And last night, with one swing of the bat in inning number twelve, he drove one to deep center to put the Rangers up 7-6 in a game in which they blew a six-run lead and could very easily have given up.
Sure, Gallo is striking out a lot. That’s what he does. But he is also drawing walks, going the other way, being a lot more patient, and turning himself into more than a one-dimensional hitter. It all started the day he bunted for a base hit, too. Coincidence? No.
Oh, and the catch he made in left field of the line drive off the bat of Indians Jason Kipnis was a thing of beauty as well. It saved at least one run and who knows how many after that.
So, to summarize: Joey Gallo’s glove won the game. Joey Gallo’s bat won the game.
Joey Gallo can do it all, it seems. And right now the Rangers need someone who can undo their pitching staff.
Matt Moore (1-3, 5.33) vs. Corey Kluber (4-1, 2.18)
Game time: 12:10