Down to his last out and on the verge of his first loss in the MLB The Show Players Tournament, Joey Gallo found some magic.
The Texas Rangers slugger hit a three-run, walk-off homer to beat pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and the Boston Red Sox 7-6, continuing Gallo’s perfect start and providing the tournament’s biggest highlight on a busy Tuesday.
The blast to right field by a virtual Ronald Guzman prompted shrieks of delight from the real-life Gallo.
After going 4-0 on his first day of play, Gallo opened Tuesday with a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels pitcher Ty Buttrey, then slammed Atlanta Braves pitcher Luke Jackson 11-1. Willie Calhoun combined for three home runs in those two games. After defeating Rodriguez, Gallo beat Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins 5-2 to improve to 8-0.
The other star of the day was Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, who clobbered all of his opponents en route to a 4-0 day.
Bichette opened with an 8-0 win over Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., hitting a two-run home run as himself in the game. He then topped Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jon Duplantier 4-1 before taking down New York Mets utility man Jeff McNeil 4-1. In his final game, Bichette scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back in topping Seattle Mariners pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. 7-3.
The online tournament utilizing the “MLB The Show 20” game features one player from each of the 30 major league teams. The charity event is helping fill some time for players and fans with the baseball season shut down indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All players will square off once in a 29-game round robin over three weeks. Each regular-season game lasts three innings, and there are extra innings when needed.
The top eight players will reach the postseason, which culminates in a May 2 World Series. The playoffs will utilize a best-of-three format until the World Series, which will be best-of-five.
Tuesday’s other standouts were McNeil and Hoskins — both of whom were 3-0 before losing to Bichette and Gallo, respectively — and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Amir Garrett, who also went 3-1.
Jackson and Marlins pitcher Ryne Stanek went 2-2 while Rodriguez, Edwards and Duplantier each went 1-3. McCullers and Buttrey both finished winless in their four games.
The last game of the night, between Rodriguez and Stanek, was interrupted twice due to connection issues, then went seven innings before Stanek won 2-0. A sacrifice fly drove in the tiebreaking run before a virtual Garrett Cooper belted a solo homer for Miami.
Sony Interactive Entertainment and Major League Baseball, in cooperation with the players association, will donate $5,000 on behalf of each player to a Boys and Girls Club in his community. A total of $175,000 will be donated, including the World Series prize of $25,000.
MLB The Show Players League standings, through Tuesday:
American League East
1. Toronto Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette, 7-1
2. Tampa Bay Rays’ Blake Snell, 6-2
3. Baltimore Orioles’ Dwight Smith Jr., 3-1
4. New York Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle, 0-4
5. Boston Red Sox’s Eduardo Rodriguez, 1-7
American League Central
1. Detroit Tigers’ Niko Goodrum, 3-1
2. Minnesota Twins’ Trevor May, 4-3
T3. Chicago White Sox’s Lucas Giolito, 2-2
T3. Kansas City Royals’ Brett Phillips, 2-2
T3. Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana, 0-0
American League West
1. Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, 8-0
2. Seattle Mariners’ Carl Edwards Jr., 3-5
T3. Oakland Athletics’ Jesus Luzardo, 1-3
T3. Houston Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr., 2-6
5. Los Angeles Angels’ Ty Buttrey, 1-7
National League East
1. New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil, 6-2
2. Philadelphia Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, 5-3
3. Atlanta Braves’ Luke Jackson, 3-5
4. Miami Marlins’ Ryne Stanek, 2-6
5. Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, 1-2
National League Central
1. Cincinnati Reds’ Amir Garrett, 6-2
2. Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ, 3-1
3. St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, 2-2
4. Pittsburgh Pirates’ Cole Tucker, 1-3
5. Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader, 0-3
National League West
T1. San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., 3-1
T1. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Gavin Lux, 3-1
3. Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jon Duplantier, 4-4
4. Colorado Rockies’ David Dahl, 1-2
5. San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence, 1-3
–Field Level Media