July 10 (UPI) — Texas Rangers center fielder Joey Gallo didn’t take long to feel comfortable in his first career All-Star Game, hitting the first pitch he saw from Giants reliever Will Smith over the right-field wall for a home run.
With the American League leading 3-1 in the seventh inning on Tuesday night, Gallo took Smith’s 94.2-mph fastball 397 feet at Progressive Field. Gallo’s home run proved to be the deciding run in the American League’s 4-3 victory.
Gallo joined former New York Mets third baseman David Wright (2006) and Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (2018) as the only players since 2000 to hit a home run on the first pitch they saw in their first career All-Star Game at-bat.
“I really didn’t understand the magnitude of it: I just hit a home run in the All-Star Game,” Gallo said. “Watching this game growing up, and now I hit a home run in it, it’s pretty special. I think I have to take a step back. Everything happened so quick. I can’t even think about what happened.”
The 111.5-mph exit velocity was the hardest on a hit in the All-Star Game since Statcast began in 2015. Gallo became the first Rangers player to homer in an All-Star Game since Mark Teixeira accomplished the feat in 2005.
“Just got a pretty good pitch and got the barrel on it,” Gallo said.
Gallo is enjoying a breakout season for the Rangers. The 25-year-old is hitting a career-high .278 with 20 home runs and 46 RBIs in 61 games.