NEW YORK — Mark Teixeira already has found a home at Yankee Stadium. Starlin Castro seems to be settling in quite well, too.
“This is the whole package. The Yankees are the whole package,” Teixeira said. “I mean once you play for the Yankees, you’ve kind of reached the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.”
Teixeira sliced a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning and Castro connected again, sending New York past the Houston Astros 8-5 on April 7.
The Yankees took two of three in the season-opening series against the team that beat them in the AL wild-card game last October. The game began 12 minutes late because of rain, and the ballpark was far less than half-filled.
Castro kept up his torrid start with a solo home run and a single off the wall, making him 7-for-12. The former Cubs infielder has eight RBIs, the most by any player in his first three games for the Yankees since the stat became official in 1920, STATS said.
Castro credited the talks he had with Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and other new teammates in spring training with making his adjustment go more smoothly.
“You feel more comfortable to have those guys with you and you can see it when they’re hitting. You see it from the dugout and you see their approach. I think that’s a really big thing for me and it helps me,” he said.
Castro also liked having his parents and brother in the seats. They were in town April 6, but skipped the game because of the cold weather. “They enjoyed it more today because they’re here,” he said.
Castro became the first player in the majors with at least eight RBIs in his first three games for a new team since Calvin Pickering had 11 for the Royals in 2004, STATS said.
Brian McCann also homered for the Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury doubled twice.
Tyler White hit his first homer in the majors, drove in four runs and got three hits for the Astros. He’s 6 for 9 since making his big league debut this week.
White and Preston Tucker lined consecutive home runs off Nathan Eovaldi in the second. Eovaldi had the lowest home run rate among AL pitchers last year, but was tagged for back-to-back shots for the first time in his career. The right-hander hadn’t pitched in the regular season since last Sept. 5 because of elbow inflammation.
White’s two-run single put the Astros ahead 5-2 in the fourth. Rodriguez made it 5-all with his first hit of the season, an RBI single in the Yankees fifth off Mike Fiers.
Brett Gardner singled with one out in the seventh off Will Harris (0-1). Ken Giles relieved and gave up a single to Rodriguez, then Teixeira hit an opposite-field drive to left that reached the first row of the seats. Teixeira also hit a three-run homer in Wednesday night’s win.
Chasen Shreve (1-0) pitched the seventh and Dellin Betances took care of the eighth. Andrew Miller worked around a pair of singles in the ninth for his first save.
(BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer)