Gallo's homer backs stellar pitching in U.S. win
Rangers slugger named Futures Game MVP; Cubs' Baez goes deep for World
MINNEAPOLIS -- If Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game was any indication, there's sure to be an influx of power arms headed to the Major Leagues very soon.
Individual pitching performances dominated the game, and Rangers third-base prospect Joey Gallo connected on a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth to lead the U.S. Team to a 3-2 win over the World Team at Target Field. It extended a five-game winning streak for the U.S., which improved to 10-6 in the annual All-Star Weekend showcase.
The teams' 20 pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts while walking just two batters and surrendering 15 hits.
"I was talking to the guys as they came back into the dugout and I told them I didn't know how they were hitting that stuff," U.S. Team manager and former Twins skipper Tom Kelly said. "That was nasty stuff coming. And there's no respite. It just kept coming. So it was a lot of fun to watch. The pitchers threw the ball magnificent for both teams."
Gallo, who was named the game's MVP, put his prodigious power on display during batting practice and carried it over into the game with his two-run blast off right-hander Michael Feliz (Astros) with one out in the sixth. It's nothing new for Gallo, who is tied for the Minor League lead with 31 homers this season.
"This one is definitely the most memorable one," Gallo said of his homer. "To do it in front of 37,000 people is crazy."
It handed Feliz the loss, but the right-hander did strike out two in his one inning. He just left a fastball up to Gallo, who has as much raw power as any prospect in the game.
"I was behind in the count and I got to throw a fastball," Feliz said. "It was really up. Easy for him. Big guy, left-handed, in the middle."
Gallo's homer came after Cubs No. 1 prospect Javier Baez put the World Team on the scoreboard with a two-run shot in the top of the inning. Baez's homer to right field came against right-hander Lucas Giolito (Nationals).
But Giolito was the lone U.S. pitcher to give up a run on the afternoon, as nine others combined to throw eight scoreless frames with nine strikeouts.
Left-hander Henry Owens (Red Sox) started the game for the U.S. and worked around a Jose Peraza (Braves) single in the first inning. The World Team didn't get a runner in scoring position until Twins prospect Kennys Vargas doubled with two outs in the fourth off Hunter Harvey (Orioles). Harvey then walked Steven Moya (Tigers), but got out of the jam by getting Dariel Alvarez (Orioles) to ground out to end the inning.
Fellow Twins prospect Alex Meyer needed only four pitches to throw a 1-2-3 fifth inning for the U.S. with his fastball hitting as high as 97 mph. Jake Thompson (Tigers) picked up the win for the U.S. and struck out both batters he faced.
Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard picked up the save by working around a single in the ninth.
"Both sides had really good staffs," Meyer said. "You had guys throwing all sorts of different pitches. You had kids all the way from 17 to me probably being the oldest one at 24. So it was a lot of fun. You hear about these guys all the time so to see it on display is pretty neat."
Three World Team pitchers threw hitless innings, including another Twins prospect in right-hander Jose Berrios, who tossed a perfect first with a strikeout.
Marlins prospect Domingo German also threw a 1-2-3 second with two strikeouts, while Dodgers No. 3 prospect Julio Urias, 17, made history as the youngest player to appear in a Futures Game. The left-hander threw a perfect fifth inning with a strikeout.
"How about that 17-year-old? My goodness," Kelly said. "He was composed. Goodness gracious. If I were still managing, I think I could live with this bunch. I think in a year or two these guys are going to make these teams look smart."
The U.S. Team didn't get a hit until the third inning, when Jesse Winker (Reds) opened the frame with a double off left-hander Edwin Escobar (Giants) and advanced to third on a single from Hunter Renfroe (Padres).
Winker came around to score on an RBI groundout from Kevin Plawecki (Mets) to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead. But the U.S. left the bases loaded that inning, as Cubs prospect Kris Bryant flied out to right to end the inning.
But the U.S. Team still did enough offensively thanks to Gallo's efforts in the sixth, and Kelly was satisfied with the way the game turned out.
"I told the guys before the game to remember they're entertainers and to put on a show," Kelly said. "It ended up being a nice day for both teams.