NEW YORK -- It would help the Yankees immeasurably if Starlin Castro can continue "playing tee-ball," as Carlos Beltran so amusingly put it, but they believe that there are plenty of other reasons that their lineup will be deeper in 2016.
The Yankees sent 12 men to the plate in a 36-minute bottom of the first inning, scoring six early runs off Collin McHugh in a 16-6 rout of the Astros on Wednesday, and Mark Teixeira said that production like that should be no surprise.
"This is what we're capable of," Teixeira said. "You're not going to do that every night, especially against a good team, but when we have the entire lineup that's clicking, you're going to have a couple of nights like this, and they feel good."
Teixeira drove in the Yankees' first run with the first of the club's 17 hits on the evening, making McHugh pay after an error and two walks to open the frame.
Brian McCann laced a two-run double, Beltran knocked in a run with a groundout and Chase Headley won an 11-pitch battle with an RBI single to center that ended McHugh's outing with one out on the board after just 46 pitches.
"Today was good. I think today we had a good plan," Beltran said. "We were able to make the guy throw balls high in the strike zone, and we didn't really chase those cutters in the bottom of the strike zone. We were able to put ourselves on the basepaths. It was good to see everyone swinging the bat well."
The Yanks would see 19 more pitches in the first inning from Michael Feliz, who was greeted by Castro's run-scoring single -- the first of four hits and five RBIs on the evening for the newcomer.
"I said it from Day One of Spring Training, this guy can hit," Teixeira said. "He's shown it his entire career, and he's fun to watch. I'm glad he's on our team, because he's going to be huge for us."
Manager Joe Girardi said that Castro's right-handed bat adds balance and length to the lineup. Through two games, it seems to have provided an immediate upgrade over Stephen Drew, but the Yanks aren't sleeping on the production they can squeeze out of others.
Teixeira hit a three-run homer in the third, Beltran went deep for a solo shot in the sixth, and even Ronald Torreyes provided a two-run triple in his first Yankees at-bat.
"Today was a good game, man, but the game of baseball, not every day happens what happened today," Beltran said. "But we're confident in the hitters we have. We know that we're capable of putting good at-bats together. We can be successful. Today was a good thing to see."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.