Joey Gallo wanted to make sure the Texas Rangers caught their flight home.
So, with the game on the line Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Gallo laid out for a game-ending diving catch in shallow right field.
The catch prevented the tying run from scoring and secured a 4-3 win in 10 innings and another series win for the Rangers. Texas took three of four from the Twins after taking three of four last weekend from the Boston Red Sox. The Rangers are 4-0 in extra-inning games.
They start a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Field at 7:05 p.m. Friday.
“I really didn’t want to keep playing extra innings,” Gallo joked, if only partially. “We’ve got a flight to catch so I new I had to go all out on that.”
The catch was so close that it had to be reviewed by the umpiring crew but Gallo had it all the way, even if the ball crept up to the lip of his glove to form the “snow cone” look as his body came to a stop after a roll.
“I made sure I kept it up in the air,” he said. “I’m really happy I made that play.”
Willie Calhoun drove in Jonah Heim with a single to right in the 10th to give Texas a 4-3 lead. Heim, who started the inning on the second base per the MLB’s new rule, moved up to third on a wild pitch with no outs before Calhoun scored him.
Calhoun said he wasn’t surprised by Gallo’s catch. “That’s why his gold is glove,” he said, referring to Gallo’s 2020 Gold Glove Award.
Heim tied the game at 3-3 with a seventh-inning homer. Gallo hit his fourth homer of the season and second in the series in the second inning.
“We’re a pretty good team. We don’t get a lot of love and that’s fine, we’re cool with that,” Gallo said. “That’s kind of our identity right now. Making the other team work.”
With two outs, Nelson Cruz was at second base when Miguel Sano lifted a shallow fly toward Gallo. Cruz, of course, was running on contact and despite not being the fastest base runner, likely would have scored since Sano’s fly stayed in the air so long.
“There’s a reason there’s gold on that glove,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Obviously, if he doesn’t make that play the game is still going. I don’t know how it stayed in his glove, to be honest.”