CHICAGO — Mike Gallo, Long Beach native, Millikan High graduate, former Long Beach State pitching standout, stood in the Houston Astros dugout early Saturday evening moments before he and his teammates began their pregame World Series warmups for the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. He was shaking his head and smiling, and words were tumbling out of him as quickly as the left-hander has disposed of left-handed hitters for the Astros during the playoffs. “This is an absolute dream come true for me,” says Gallo, who has appeared in three October games for the Astros and not yielded a run in 1 2/3 innings of situational relief work. “I have to keep pinching myself to make sure it’s all for real. “Remember, I pitched in 37 games for the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League before I was called up on July 3. When I arrived back in Houston, (Astros manager) Phil Garner just told me I need you to get out those dangerous left-handed hitters late in the game. And, fortunately, that’s what I’ve been able to do.” He paused, and then resumed, “Look, when you get back to Long Beach, say hello to all my friends like President (Robert) Maxson. Dr. Maxson’s leaving is a terrible loss for Long Beach State. He’s been such a loyal supporter of the Dirtbags. I’ll be back after the World Series, and my wife Kristin and I are planning to live in Sunset Beach.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Mike Gallo has become a vital part of an exceptional Houston bullpen that features three stout right-handers, Brad Lidge irrespective of that dramatic Game 5 home run he yielded to St. Louis’ Albert Pujols in the NLCS Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler to go with his left-handed offerings. In 36 games during the regular season, he had a solid 2.66 ERA, and was 4-2 with a 3.64 ERA with Round Rock when he was summoned by the Astros. He has divided time between the Astros and the minors for the past three seasons, and hopes the trend won’t continue in 2006. And it won’t if he continues to pitch as effectively as he has the past four months. “I think I’ve become more consistent because of the experience I’ve had in now being in so many big games,” said Gallo. “I understand that you’re going to fail sometimes, and you just can’t let it get you down. I have so much more confidence in myself than I did earlier in my career.” Gallo had plenty of support Saturday night, as his parents, Dwain and Christine Gallo, and his wife and her parents, Andre and Becky Flammang, were in the stands. “This has been an amazing season for our team and for me,” said Gallo. “I start it in the minors, and here am in the World Series. I’m so blessed. I was in the College World Series with the Dirtbags, and now I’m in the World Series with the Astros. How lucky can a guy be?” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!