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Starlin Castro's slam powers New York Yankees past Cleveland Indians 13-7

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
Starlin Castro's slam powers New York Yankees past Cleveland Indians 13-7
New York Yankees' Starlin Castro flips the ball to Didi Gregorius. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Dressed in a polo shirt and shorts, New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira looked every bit the part of freshly-minted retiree late Friday night. He didn't play like it, though.

Teixeira announced his plans to retire at the end of the season Friday afternoon, a few hours before he went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to help the Yankees to a 13-7 win over the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium.

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Revealing the news he'd been guarding for weeks seemed to unburden Teixeira, who broke down numerous times during a 20-minute press conference.

"I definitely have a little bit of a weight off my shoulder, carrying this around for the last few weeks, knowing I had made my decision but not being able to tell anybody," said Teixeira, who cited his recent health woes -- he has missed 207 games since 2012 due to wrist, leg and neck injuries -- as the biggest reason for retiring at age 36.

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Teixeira was the first Yankees player to emerge from the dugout in the top of the first inning. He received a warm ovation prior to stepping to the plate in the bottom half, when he laced a double to right field.

Teixeira singled and scored during a five-run third inning powered by Starlin Castro's first career grand slam. He grounded out in the fourth before walking and coming around to score on a single by Chase Headley in the sixth.

With the Yankees ahead 9-3 at that point, manager Joe Girardi pulled Teixeira in hopes of having him fresh for Saturday.

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"I'm exhausted -- I was exhausted before the game started," Teixeira said. "Running around the bases (is) always good. That means you're scoring runs (and) helping the team. So I'm happy to do it."

The impressive night by Teixeira raised his average to .202 and highlighted a game in which the Yankees got plenty of contributions from their veteran holdovers as well as the young players expected to usher New York -- which received 11 players in dealing relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller and right fielder Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline -- into its next era of championship contention.

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Jacoby Ellsbury, the 32-year-old center fielder signed through 2020, went 4-for-5 with two runs scored. Fellow 32-year-olds Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, each of whom are signed through 2018, had two RBIs apiece as the Yankees (55-54) alternated a win with a loss for the fifth straight game.

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Castro, 26, reached base four times in five plate appearances while 26-year-old Aaron Hicks hit a solo homer in the seventh.

"I think the future's very bright for this team, but at the same time, we're trying to win games -- we still have some veterans that can get the job done still," Teixeira said. "We're going to try to win as many games as possible. Tonight, you saw up and down the lineup, we had good contributions."

The most impressive youngster Friday was 23-year-old Gary Sanchez, who made his first start of the season at catcher and collected his first two major league RBIs while throwing out Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli trying to steal second in the first and second innings, respectively.

"I think he did a pretty good job," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a former big league catcher. "I didn't see him flustered at any point. I didn't see him get emotional. He made two good throws to help Michael (Pineda) out early in the game. He recorded two of the first four outs, in a sense."

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Pineda (6-10) picked up the win after allowing four runs, six hits and one walk while striking out six in six innings.

Chris Gimenez hit a three-run homer in the fifth for the Indians (61-46), who have lost four of six, a stretch in which they've been outscored 50-32.

The Indians (61-46) have lost four of six, a stretch in which they have been outscored 50-32. Cleveland's lead in the American League Central fell to two games over Detroit Tigers, who beat the New York Mets, 4-3.

"We know we've got a good team, it's a long season," Napoli said. "We've got confidence in every single guy in this room, so we're going to come out here tomorrow and try to even up the series."

The Indians scored once in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Tyler Naquin and three times in the eighth, when Napoli and Brandon Guyer had RBI singles while Abraham Almonte lofted a sacrifice fly. Cleveland also sent five batters to the plate in a scoreless ninth, during which Yankees closer Dellin Betances had to warm up in case he was needed.

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"Just how we are as a team -- we don't quit no matter what the score," Napoli said.

Josh Tomlin (11-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs, nine hits and two walks while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings.

NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said 1B Greg Bird, who missed this season because of shoulder surgery but is still in line to be Mark Teixeira's heir apparent, is on pace to play in the Arizona Fall League. ... The Indians promoted LHP Shawn Morimando from Triple-A Columbus and added INF Michael Martinez to the active roster while optioning INF Erik Gonzalez and LHP Ryan Merritt to Columbus.

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