NEW YORK -- Two games in, the early returns on Starlin Castro with the New York Yankees are looking good.
So good that Castro has achieved something done by Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Babe Ruth.
Castro fell a triple shy of the cycle and drove in five runs as the Yankees scored 12 times in the first three innings of a 16-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Castro had an RBI single during New York's six-run first inning off Collin McHugh (0-1) and added a three-run home run in the second. He doubled in the sixth and then added an RBI single in the seventh.
"Nice pace that he's on," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He hit extremely well in spring training. You think about it before he turned 26 just recently he almost had a thousand hits and that's a lot of hits for someone that age. We felt that he would big in our lineup that he gave us a lot better balance than we had the last couple of years and that he would do a really good job at second base. So far, so good."
The last hit gave him seven RBIs in his first two games for the Yankees. By getting seven RBIs so quickly, Castro joined Tino Martinez (1997), Berra (1956) and Babe Ruth (1932) as the fourth Yankee to get seven RBIs in the club's first two games.
"Starlin Castro's playing t-ball right now," Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran said. "He's seeing the ball good and hitting the ball. It's good to see him swinging the bat like that and he's a big, big key to our club. It's fun. It's fun to watch him play. So we just hope he stays healthy and continues to do what he does."
"That's what he told me (I was playing t-ball)," Castro said. "It's a good opportunity to be in this organization. Playing second base, I just want to feel like when I was playing at shortstop. I just want to be the player I used to be."
The rest of the Yankees also were swinging the bat well as they scored 16 runs in one of the first two games of a season for the fourth time in team history and first time since 1997 in Seattle. Every Yankees starter reached base at least once and scored.
Besides Castro's 12th career four-hit game and third game with at least five RBIs, Mark Teixeira drove in four runs. Teixeira started the 36-minute inning with an RBI single and added a three-run home run in the third off Michael Feliz.
Brian McCann added a two-run double, Carlos Beltran homered and drove in two runs while Chase Headley capped the first with a run-scoring single and PH Ronald Torreyes had a two-run triple in the seventh ahead of Castro's final hit.
"I thought we had a lot of really good at-bats from our guys," Girardi said.
Castro's productive night overshadowed an outstanding performance from Houston's Carlos Correa. Correa hit solo home runs in the first and fifth off Michael Pineda (1-0) for his third career multi-homer game and had a career-high four hits.
George Springer also connected off Pineda, hitting a grand slam to deep left field in the second after the Yankees took a 6-1 lead.
Pineda benefited from the support and picked up the win despite allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings.
McHugh recorded one out and was charged with six runs (five earned) and gave up three hits as the teams combined for 18 runs and 18 hits during the first five innings.
"You never want to have a game like that," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was a mess from the beginning."
NOTES: Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees will not file a formal protest about Houston SS Carlos Correa not being called for interference during the eighth inning on Tuesday. "Our feeling was that the rules stated that it's in the umpires judgement if the first baseman can catch (the ball)," Girardi said. "I'm still not crazy about the rule. ... Houston DH Evan Gattis (sports hernia) will start a rehab assignment on Thursday and get three to four at-bats as a designated hitter for Double-A Corpus Christi. ... Houston RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (sore shoulder) threw around 30 pitches in a simulated game in extended spring training on Wednesday and the team will decide next week on the next step. ... New York City mayor Bill de Blasio signed a legislation banning all tobacco from city sports venues, including smokeless tobacco. "It's something they're going to have to get used to," Girardi said. ... Heavy rain is projected for Thursday, but neither team has started thinking about its starting pitching plans should the game get rained out.
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