Joey Gallo has been punishing Minor League pitching all season. On Sunday, he provided a snapshot of what fans may see in Major League parks in the not-too-distant future in a spotlight designed to do just that.
The No. 2 Rangers prospect claimed MVP honors after hammering a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally the U.S. Futures to a 3-2 win over the World in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The Minor Leagues' co-leader in home runs entering the big league All-Star Break, Gallo began turning heads before the game even began. The third-base prospect put on a power show during batting practice, launching 15 out of the stadium -- one of which shattered the windshield of a car parked on the Target Field concourse.
"My first swing, I was up there just swinging, and I hit a home run and heard people go kind of like, 'ohhhhhh," Gallo told MLB.com. "I said I might as well put on a show. People are paying good money to be here, so I'll give them what I want. I heard I broke a windshield, and I do feel bad about that."
Once he was facing live pitching, Gallo helped the American squad dig out of a one-run hole in the sixth. Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez belted a two-run shot in the top of the inning to give the World its first -- and only -- lead of the day.
Gallo answered with a mammoth shot off No. 9 Astros prospect Michael Feliz. The 20-year-old, with 93 career Minor League home runs to his name in two-and-a-half seasons, had some perspective on his Sunday blast.
"This one is definitely the most memorable one," Gallo said. "To do it in front of 37,000 people is crazy."
"I was behind in the count and I got to throw a fastball," said Feliz, who took the loss. "It was really up. Easy for him. Big guy, left-handed, in the middle."
Gallo's big fly drew praise from his fellow Las Vegas native and Minor League co-leader in homers, No. 2 Cubs prospect Kris Bryant.
"It seems like any ball he hits, he can hit out of the park," Bryant said. "He did it today and it won the game for us."
Baez and Gallo provided the two big offensive sparks on a day otherwise defined by strong pitching on both sides.
With 20 combined pitchers, the U.S. and World teams struck out 18 batters and issued just five walks. No. 3 Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey fanned two in an inning of work for the U.S. On the World side, 17-year-old Julio Urias, the No. 3 Dodgers prospect, became the youngest player to ever appear in a Futures Game, striking out a batter in one perfect inning.
"How about that 17-year-old? My goodness," U.S. manager Tom Kelly said. "He was composed. Goodness gracious. If I were still managing, I think I could live with this bunch. I think in a year or two, these guys are going to make these teams look smart."
After Baez homered off of top Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito in the sixth, No. 3 Tigers prospect Jake Thompson struck out the only two batters he faced en route to notching the victory.
Top Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard picked up the save, working around a hit while striking out a man in the ninth.