Things got a little crazy in Texas on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers, who once led the game 10-1, barely held on for an 11-10 win over the Astros (box score). Shawn Kelley struck out Robinson Chirinos with the bases loaded to end the game.
Rangers slugger Joey Gallo had a big day at the plate, going 2 for 5 with a triple and 5 RBI. He drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with an infield single in the sixth inning. Two innings earlier, Gallo gave the Rangers their 10th run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly.
Believe it or not, that was the very first sacrifice fly of Gallo's big league career. Here's the video:
Gallo's first sacrifice fly came in his 1,337th plate appearance, and Gallo did hold the record for most career plate appearances without one.
Gallo had gone 1,145 at-bats without a sacrifice fly. Since the sac fly became a statistic in 1954, Gallo had more at-bats than any Major League player without one. Next is former pitcher Larry Jackson with 1,089 at-bats without a sacrifice fly. Among active players, San Diego's Travis Jankowski, who is on the injured list this season, is the new leader with 847 at-bats without a sacrifice fly.
Making Gallo's non-sac fly streak even more remarkable is the fact he is one of the most extreme fly ball hitters in the sport. Here are the lowest ground ball rates since 2015, Gallo's first season (min. 1,000 PA):
- Matt Carpenter: 28.2 percent
- Brandon Belt: 28.3 percent
- Lucas Duda: 29.4 percent
- Joey Gallo: 29.6 percent
- Chris Carter: 30.8 percent
(MLB average: 42.5 percent)
Granted, Gallo went into Sunday's game with only 73 career plate appearances with a runner on third and less than two outs, and that's a tiny sample. Still, you'd think he'd have lifted a ball to the outfield for a sac fly by now. Apparently not.
Gallo, by the way, is hitting a cool .281/.382/.734 on the young season. He's still only 25 too. Sure, Gallo strikes out a lot, but he also has as much power as anyone in the sport. This could be his breakout season.
In the span of one week Gallo recorded his first career sac fly and. Quite of week for statistical quirks involving relatively routine plays.