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Gallo uses hat trick to take Minors lead
Rangers prospect helps Hickory set single-season SAL mark
08/30/2013 11:48 PM ET
Joey Gallo has driven in 85 runs across two levels this year.
Joey Gallo has driven in 85 runs across two levels this year. (Tracy Proffitt/Hickory Crawdads)

That's a loud way to break a losing streak.

With his second three-homer night of the year Friday, Joey Gallo took the Minor League lead, helped his team break a South Atlantic League record and extended his own franchise mark. And he powered Class A Hickory to a long-awaited win.

"It's always good to win and we were coming off seven straight losses, so it was really good," the Rangers' No. 5 prospect said. "We got 12 hits as a team -- it was a great game all around."

The Crawdads topped visiting Delmarva, 7-3, using five homers to push their total to 174 and eclipse the SAL record set by the 1998 Macon Braves.

"It's obviously fun to be with a group of guys who hit home runs so easily, and we put up good numbers," Gallo said. "We're young and have a lot to work on, but it's fun to do it with this group and move up the ladder together. We've had a lot of fun this year."

Wrapping up his first full Minor League season, the 19-year-old third baseman homered in the first, fifth and seventh innings -- the first and last cleared the center-field fence, the second went to right. He's got 36 long balls at Class A plus two he swatted during a five-game rehab stint in the Rookie-level Arizona League.

Astros' No. 3 prospect George Springer has 37 homers between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, and he last went yard on Aug. 23. The Minor Leaguer who finishes the season with the most home runs receives the Joe Bauman Award and a check for $200 per dinger.

The Crawdads and Springer's Oklahoma City RedHawks both have three games to play. How will Gallo spend the cash if he holds on to the lead?

"I have no idea," he said. "I don't want to focus on that right now. It's fun to look back at the end of a season and see what you did, and if I've led [the Minors], that's great. Right now, I want to finish the end of the year strong."

Despite missing time with a groin injury, Gallo set Hickory's single-season home run record with his 33rd on Thursday. He also hit three in a game on June 11, and each of his last five hits have left the ballpark.

"It's easier," to hit more than one homer in a game, he said, "because you start to get a little confidence and you start seeing the ball better. But it's also harder, because you stop seeing better pitches to hit. Pitchers throw around a little, and it's tough to hit a home run anyway. But they always come in groups, in bunches."

Alejandro Selen added a two-run blast and Nomar Mazara a solo shot, his 13th, for the Crawdads.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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