By John Henry, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — With only two home runs since Sept. 1, Joey Gallo was a little concerned a quality first full season in the majors might be tainted slightly with a slip over the last month.
He need not worry any longer.
Gallo reached the 40-home run plateau with two Saturday and had three RBIs in the Texas Rangers’ 8-4 victory over the Oakland A’s.
Gallo hit a two-run home run in Texas’ four-run second off Oakland starter Daniel Gossett and a towering solo shot to right in the third off right-hander Simon Castro.
The multi-home run game was the fourth of his career, all this season.
He finished 2-for-2 with two walks after his first two at-bats, and three runs scored.
“Obviously, I got close (to 40) and down the stretch I was like, ‘Man if I don’t hit one, I’m gonna be pretty upset at myself,'” Gallo said. “Today was kind of a little relief off my shoulders … how far I’ve come.”
Of the first one, he said: “Off the bat I was like it’s over, I can enjoy it and play again.”
Willie Calhoun and Elvis Andrus had RBI singles in the sixth. Jared Hoying and Delino DeShields also had RBIs for Texas to help make a winner out of right-hander Andrew Cashner (11-11).
The Rangers (78-83) have won two straight after losing seven in a row.
Cashner threw six innings, giving up two runs — both in the sixth — and five hits and two walks while striking out two.
Designated hitter Khris Davis, who was 2-for-3, and third baseman Matt Chapman had RBIs for Oakland (74-87).
Right fielder Matt Joyce hit his 25th home run in the eighth off Texas reliever Matt Bush. Marcus Semien hit a home run in the ninth off right-hander Paulo Espino.
Cashner worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the second following errors by Odor, the second baseman, and third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and a walk to Bruce Maxwell.
He got out of it with a 4-6-3 double play, the same combo that erased leadoff singles in the third.
Cashner, a free agent after the season, finished 2017 with a 3.40 ERA, the second-lowest qualifying figure by a Ranger in the past four seasons.
The A’s were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Gossett (4-11) took the loss for Oakland, which used six pitchers in relief of the right-hander.
A’s starting pitchers had allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of the last 14 games entering play Saturday, but Gossett gave up four runs on five hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings.
Gossett, a 24-year-old in his second stint with the team this season, is 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA since his recall Aug. 23 from Triple-A Nashville.
“I think he’s a little tired at this point,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Some of the younger guys in September, it’s a month they haven’t played before. He’s out there grinding. Hung a couple of breaking balls, really didn’t have command of his fastball.”
In the Rangers’ four-run second, Texas opened with Mazara’s leadoff base hit followed by Gallo’s long blast to center.
Gossett recorded the next two outs, but couldn’t get the third and wound up throwing 30 pitches in the inning, which he didn’t complete.
Odor’s double was followed by Hoying’s run-scoring double to left and DeShields’ RBI single. A walk to Calhoun was the final straw, as manager Bob Melvin walked to the mound.
“I’m not going to hang it on being late (in the season),” Gossett said. “That’s baseball, you have to perform. I wasn’t able to slow the game down and make my pitches. It sped up on me, I lost track of the plan.”
A trend on Gossett suggested his night wasn’t going to get any better. Gossett owns a 3.35 ERA over the first three innings of a game, and a 9.08 ERA from the fourth on.
The Rangers sent nine men to the plate. Gallo was the second hitter of the third.
With one out, he hit a towering blast that landed 10 rows up in Globe Life Park’s home run porch.
It didn’t measure on Statcast.
“It’s like a kid having fun at the ballyard,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “Forty-one is pretty incredible. It’s a culmination of a year for a player that came into camp with a mission to make a team. Prove to everybody he is a major league player.
“Fun to watch every time he went out there.”