Rangers encouraged by Gallo's improvement

Team says slugger has shown better approach at the plate

Rangers encouraged by Gallo's improvement

OAKLAND -- Joey Gallo set a Rangers record for most strikeouts in a season on Saturday night. He struck out twice, giving him 187 for the year. The previous record was 185 set by Pete Incaviglia as a rookie in 1986.

There doesn't seem to be much consternation about Gallo setting the record.

"I would say Joey has had a good year," Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele said. "He's grown up as a player and matured as a hitter. I think he has done a tremendous job whether he has played third, first or left field. His approach at the plate is 100 percent better. He has taken walks. He's got the strikeouts, you can talk about that all you want, but he has been productive."

Gallo went into Sunday's game against the A's hitting .207 with 38 home runs, 76 RBIs, a .330 on-base percentage and a .528 slugging percentage. His .858 OPS is the highest on the Rangers and 15th highest in the American League.

Gallo said he is most proud of just being with the Rangers all year. He was supposed to start the season with Triple-A Round Rock or be demoted when Adrian Beltre was reinstated from the disabled list. That didn't happen.

"Just to be here all year, I think I've done a lot of good things," Gallo said. "I want to finish strong and productive, we all do, but either way, I wasn't expected to be here, I wasn't expected to hit 40 home runs. For me, that's an accomplishment."

Rangers wait on Banister

The Rangers have not given any definitive word if manager Jeff Banister will return to the team on Monday when they return to Arlington. Banister flew back to Texas to be with his mother, Verda, who has experienced some complications from surgery.

Buechele is managing the team while Banister is away. The Rangers open a three-game series with the Astros on Monday at Globe Life Park.

"When he feels it's time to come back, he'll come back," Buechele said.

Rangers beat 

• The Rangers' loss on Saturday night was only their second in their last 10 games that were decided by a 1-0 score since the start of 2013.

• The last time the Rangers lost a 1-0 game with the opposing team scoring on a solo home run was July 27, 2013, against the Indians. Yu Darvish lost that game on a home run by Michael Bourn on the second pitch of the night.

• The Rangers are staying with Nick Martinez as their fifth starter. He's scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Astros.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.