NEW YORK -- On Sunday, the Yankees and Indians completed a trade that reflected their respective directions. Seeking another arm to fortify its bullpen for a playoff run, Cleveland sent the rebuilding Yankees a package of high-profile prospects for left-hander Andrew Miller.
Since acquiring Miller, though, the Indians have floundered, losing three of four to the Twins in part because of inconsistent starting pitching. Right-hander Josh Tomlin couldn't buck the trend Friday night at Yankee Stadium, as the Bombers recorded 16 hits en route a 13-7 victory. Starlin Castro provided the big blow in the third, a grand slam to right-center field that gave the Yankees a six-run lead. The Indians fought back with three runs in the top of the eighth, but it wasn't enough.
"I think that that's the team that we are," Castro said. "If we can work together like that, we can score a lot of runs. Not every time is going to be good, but I think that we've got a really good team to kind of do that."
"The position players are fighting back so hard, you want to give them a chance," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Yankees were buoyed in part by Mark Teixeira, who announced his intention to retire at the end of the season in an emotional pregame news conference. The 14-year veteran went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Jacoby Ellsbury chipped in, too, with his first four-hit game since May 3, 2015. Right-hander Michael Pineda tossed six-plus innings and overcame some hiccups to pick up his sixth win of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Starlin Wars: With the Yankees celebrating Star Wars night at the stadium Friday, it was fitting that the man with "Star" in his name supplied the game's most important swing. With the Yankees already leading, 2-0, Castro came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning and cleared them with one swing, a Statcast™ estimated 374-foot blast. The home run was Castro's first career grand slam.
"It's just a really good at-bat because he didn't try to do too much, and he went the other way," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The pitcher is going to throw a lot of cutters and breaking balls, and he didn't give in. I thought Starlin did a nice job of staying on the ball and just going the other way."
May I have another? With two outs and two runners on in the fifth, Chris Gimenez scared Yankee Stadium when he ripped a liner to left field that barely landed foul. The relief was short-lived. The catcher sent Pineda's next offering into the seats again, but this time in fair territory. The blast, his third of the year, halved the Indians' deficit at the time.
"[Pineda]'s got a terrific arm," Francona said. "You look at his ERA and you try to figure [it] out, because man, that's electric stuff. Gimenez hung in there on a breaking ball enough to get us that three to at least make it interesting."
Catching fire: After starting the last two games at designated hitter, Friday night was the first time in Gary Sanchez's young career that he played the field, starting at catcher. From the beginning of the game, Sanchez proved he belongs, throwing out two runners trying to steal in the first two innings. But Sanchez wasn't just a defender. In the fifth, he showed off what he's known for, uncorking a 92-mph double, per Statcast™, into the right-center-field gap for an RBI. It was his second straight game with a double.
"Yeah, definitely," Sanchez said when asked if those caught stealings calmed his nerves. "You get confident from making two good throws like that and getting them out." More >
Tomlin's tough time: The Indians' starting-pitching woes continued with Tomlin, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks. It was the fifth straight game that an Indians starter was unable to pitch five innings.
"When your offense is putting up the numbers it's putting up, it's a tough pill to swallow, because it's my job to keep them in as long as I can," Tomlin said. "When you swing the bat like they've been swinging the bat, we should win a lot of those games." More >
LEAVING HIS MARK
After announcing his retirement earlier in the day, Teixeira had a night to remember as well, scoring two runs and notching two hits while reaching base three times. He described the game as a special one in his book and even received some adoration from unlikely places.
"I had a lot of the Indians come over and saying, 'Congratulations,'" Teixeira said. "And the umpires just told me that they've enjoyed watching me play. That's special to get those kinds of congratulations, and being able to contribute tonight was nice and it was nice to win tonight."
WHAT'S NEXT Indians:Corey Kluber will take the mound on five days' rest for the Indians against the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET. In his career, the righty is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA against the Yanks. It'll be his fifth start against them.
Yankees:CC Sabathia will pitch for the Yankees on Saturday, facing off against his former team for whom he won the 2007 American League Cy Young Award. Sabathia has faced the Indians 10 times since he was traded from Cleveland in 2008 and has a 4-2 record and a 3.55 ERA in those games.