August 19, 2012 in Sports

Indians’ Gallo drives in seven in Avista debut

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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(Full-size photo)

It’s tempting to think of Joey Gallo as going from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds, but the zero just doesn’t fit the 18-year-old Texas Rangers first-round draft pick.

Really, Sunday night was business as usual for Gallo. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound, left-handed Gallo had a lot of autographs to sign before he mindfully fielded questions, leaving the door open for some banter with Indians manager Tim Hulett.

“Do you know what questions to ask – after we actually play at this level?” Hulett joked.

In his fourth game with the Spokane Indians, Gallo’s two home runs – one an eighth-inning grand slam – led Spokane to one of its best wins of the season as the Indians opened their final homestand of the year by running over the Tri-City Dust Devils (9-17) with a 16-4 Northwest League win.

His first three games with Spokane (11-15) resulted in a pair of hits in 11 at-bats, with eight strikeouts. But that was on the road. Gallo looked right at home in his debut at Avista Stadium.

“He really has a good sense of timing,” Hulett said. “He didn’t go out there and get all his good hits on the road. He waited until he got home so he could be an instant fan favorite. Evidently he’s smart, too.”

Smart, patient, powerful, and as it turns out, agreeable.

“I guess we can say that was the plan,” Gallo said with a laugh. “I just had to get adjusted to the different speed and the crowd. I’m glad to have a good first game in front of my home crowd. It’s clearly a lot different here.”

Gallo, the 39th overall pick in the 2012 draft, was called up to Spokane last week after crushing the Arizona Rookie League home run record. In front of 4,169 of his new fans at Avista he doubled in addition to his home runs, driving in a total of seven.

Royce Bolinger, who extended his hitting streak to 20 games (among the top 10 in the Indians’ 122-year franchise history) hit a pair of singles and a triple, driving in three runs. Patrick Cantwell also drove in three runs, Ryan Rua finished with a pair of RBIs, and Chris Garia was 4 for 5 with an RBI.

Gallo is hitting .313 with 20 home runs on the year after hitting 18 in the rookie league, where a crowd of 10 was typically on hand.

“It’s a joke,” Gallo said. “It feels like I’m playing pro ball now. It was pretty special when I got that call. I was looking forward to it because I really wanted to come to Spokane. I called my mom first and we were pumped.”

He’s not the only one.

“When a guy comes up and does that, he fits in real nice,” Hulett said. “He really struggled in his first series. … He’s fitting in really well – other than maybe causing a lot of our guys to overswing the next couple of days.”


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