NEW YORK — Joey Gallo didn't have a hit in his last 17 at-bats.
His batting average with the Yankees—since being acquired from the Rangers ahead of the trade deadline—had dipped to .130 (15-for-115) over 33 games.
With one timely swing on Saturday afternoon, however, the slugger showed why he's a valuable asset to New York's lineup, even with his recent struggles at the plate.
Gallo turned on a hanging changeup from Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez in the eighth inning, delivering a game-tying two-run blast beyond the short porch in right. The clutch homer left his bat at 108.2 mph, soaring 375 feet.
It was Gallo's 31st home run of the season, his sixth in a Yankees uniform.
For the Yankees, Saturday's game against the Orioles began with 6.1 no-hit innings. Baltimore's starter, right-hander Chris Ellis, kept New York out of the hit column for each of his five innings of work before handing the ball off to the bullpen.
Through the first few frames, Gallo's slump persisted at the plate. After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk on Friday night, the left fielder hit two line drives into the shift, striking out swinging in his other at-bat.
Gallo found redemption in the eighth, though, and it came at the perfect time. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it wasn't enough to secure the victory.
Baltimore jumped in front moments later, pushing across the game-winning run against closer Aroldis Chapman on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth. The Bombers were retired in order in the bottom of the frame, clinching the 4-3 loss.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been asked about Gallo's inability to find results in pinstripes quite a bit over the outfielder's first few months with the team. The skipper has periodically assured that swings and misses are part of his game, but his ability to consistently work quality at-bats is what makes him a key contributor, regardless of his batting average.
After the loss on Saturday, Boone acknowledged that Gallo was starting to press a little bit this week, trying too hard at the plate. He's hopeful Gallo's swing in the eighth can get the slugger back on track during this important stretch.
"His game is patience and getting himself into strong hitting positions," Boone explained. "To have a huge hit for us at the time today, happy about that. Hopefully it's something that settles him and gets him rolling like I feel like he's going to."
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