Castro's HR all 'pen trio needs to lock down W

2nd baseman notches Yanks' sole hit for lead; relievers do rest

Castro's HR all 'pen trio needs to lock down W

ST. PETERSBURG -- The beauty of the three-headed monster at the back end of the Yankees' bullpen is that one swing can turn a loss into a win, which is exactly what happened after Starlin Castro connected for their first -- and only -- hit of the afternoon on Sunday.

Castro shattered Jake Odorizzi's bid for a no-hitter, launching a go-ahead, two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning. The trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman needed nothing more, icing Nathan Eovaldi's 2-1 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

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Castro's two-run homer

"It was awesome, especially [because] it was the seventh inning already," Castro said. "With the type of bullpen that we've got, it's almost game over. I feel really happy for Nathan; he did a great job on the mound. That's a great game. That's a game that we feel good about."

Sunday marked the first time since July 10, 1914, that the Yankees won a game in which they notched only one hit. The all-time winning percentage for teams who threw one-hit games is .942 (1,140-70, with 10 ties). So far this year, teams that threw one-hitters are 3-3.

As sharp as Odorizzi was, Eovaldi kept pace, holding Tampa Bay to just Evan Longoria's third-inning RBI single over six innings. Betances, Miller and Chapman combined for three scoreless, hitless frames, striking out seven.

Eovaldi strikes out seven

"I don't really want to say we stole one, but I think that with the way Odorizzi pitched and the way Eovaldi pitches, somebody's going to lose the game and not feel good about it," Brett Gardner said. "Thank goodness Starlin came through in a big spot. Big swing right there.

"We only get one hit, and I don't think we left anybody on base, either. That doesn't happen very often. We're really happy to win the series. It's a good way to start the road trip."

Odorizzi retired the first 16 Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi said that he hoped a lengthy home half of the sixth -- in which Eovaldi pitched out of trouble to pin the bases loaded -- might throw off the right-hander's command.

That played out, as Gardner spit on a 3-2 pitch to work a one-out walk before Castro teed off on a 91-mph fastball that leaked toward the middle of the plate. The no-hit bid, the shutout and the lead were all history, allowing the Yanks to fire up "Done BMC."

"I mean, it's pretty big, especially knowing what you have down there," Girardi said. "I had Dellin coming in no matter what, even if we were losing, 1-0. I was bringing him in to see if maybe we could get a run in the seventh, but whatever. It's a big win."

Castro had been in an 0-for-14 funk prior to the home run, which marked his only hit of the series against the Rays. He said that the skid was not on his mind during the weekend, and as he headed toward the charter plane, it most certainly had been filed into a distant memory.

"This series, I hit a lot of balls hard," Castro said. "That's the only thing I can control. Go to the plate, have a good at-bat, and if a guy makes a great play, I can't control that. If I feel really good and things don't happen like I'm looking for, I just continue fighting, go out to play and try to do my job."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. 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.