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Crawdads' Gallo is busting out in June

Rangers prospect hits three homers in doubleheader opener
June 11, 2013

Joey Gallo is not concerned with the numbers he's putting up. That doesn't make them any less impressive.

The Rangers' No. 9 prospect recorded his first career three-homer game and drove in four runs Tuesday, powering Class A Hickory to a 6-2 triumph over Hagerstown in the first game of a doubleheader.

Gallo opened the scoring with a two-run blast in the first inning. After doubling in the third and scoring on a groundout by Ryan Rua, he slugged solo shots in the fifth and seventh. It was the first three-homer game of the season in the South Atlantic League and the Crawdads' first since Jonel Pacheco on April 27, 2008.

"He started [with] a fastball down low and I knew he'd come on 2-0 with another fastball down low and I was ready for it," Gallo said of his first homer, which came off Suns starter Matt Purke. "I was looking for a fastball, sitting dead red."

"[My] first [three-homer game]. I had a couple of two-homer games, so I was pretty excited."

June has opened with a bang for the 2012 first-round Draft pick, who's batting .326 in 10 games this month. Ten of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases and he's scored 12 runs.

"First full season in pro ball, so I'm making a little bit of adjustment, playing every day and getting my swing right," the 19-year-old third baseman said. "I'm relaxed, not worrying about how I'm doing and letting things play out."

Overall, Gallo is batting .235, shares the Minor League lead with 18 homers and has driven in 35 runs. He ranks fourth in the SAL with 126 total bases and is 7-for-7 in stolen bases attempts. And while the Las Vegas native is not thrilled with his average, he's learned not to worry too much about statistics.

"Obviously, I'd like to hit .300, but I'm more worried about getting better as a player so I can produce," Gallo said. "Not too worried about putting numbers up. I'm just going with the flow and trying to learn as much as I can. Kinda just finding myself as a hitter.

"You go through slumps and you need to find a way to get out of the slump. Making the adjustments of what you're doing wrong and why you're slumping -- down the road -- is what truly matters."

As he noted, Gallo had homered twice in a game three times before, most recently on April 17 against Asheville. His first multi-homer game came last June 30 on his way to breaking the Rookie-level Arizona League record with 18 roundtrippers. He added four during a 16-game stint with short-season Spokane.

Gallo helped Frank Lopez (2-0) win for the second time in as many starts. The 19-year-old left-hander struck out eight over five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Alex Claudio fanned six over two hitless frames for his 11th save.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.