As Tex says goodbye, Sanchez says hello in Yanks' 13-7 win
NEW YORK (AP) As Mark Teixeira started to say goodbye, Gary Sanchez began to say hello.
Teixeira got two hits after tearfully announcing this will be his final big league season, and the New York beat the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 13-7 Friday night with the help of Starlin Castro's third-inning grand slam off Josh Tomlin.
Two days after he was called up from the minors, Sanchez made his first league start behind the plate and threw out Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli trying to steal second base in the first two innings.
''That arm, man, that a special arm right there,'' Teixeira said. ''You're not going to have a lot of guys stealing on him if he keeps throwing like that. You just love seeing a 23-year-old with all the physical skills that you need to be a great player.''
Teixeira once had those skills. Slowed by injuries in the last five seasons, he said before the game he will retire after this season at age 36.
He doubled in the first inning after warm ovation, then legged out a single in the third and took third on Brian McCann's double.
''It was special tonight,'' Teixeira said. ''I had a lot of the Indians come over and say congratulations and the umpires, just telling me that they enjoyed watching me and playing against me.''
Teixeira had finalized his decision at the All-Star break but kept it to himself and his family.
''I definitely have a little bit of a weight off my shoulders,'' he said.
At .202, his batting average reached .200 for the first time since before play on May 20.
''It had to be really rewarding for the game that he had tonight,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
New York had 16 hits, including at least one by every starter, and the Yankees were not retired in order in any inning. Jacoby Ellsbury had his first four-hit game since May 3 last year, and Michael Pineda (6-10) won for the third time in four outings following a six-start winless streak, allowing four runs and six hits in six-plus innings.
Sanchez, viewed as the Yankees' catcher of the future, doubled in the fifth for his first big league RBI and walked with the bases loaded in the sixth. He has hits in all three games he's played for the Yankees this week, and throwing out the base-stealers boosted his psyche.
''You get confident from making two good throws like that and getting them out,'' he said through a translator.
Sanchez has worked on his defense this year with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre coach Jason Brown, and worked during spring training with former big league catcher Tony Pena.
''He's always had a great arm,'' Girardi said. ''His exchange was quicker. ... He has the ability to throw a lot of runners out.''
McCann hit an RBI double in the third and, with runners at second and third, Tomlin intentionally walked Chase Headley. Two pitches later, Castro sent a cutter over the right-field scoreboard for his 12th homer this season and first career slam.
Chris Gimenez, a .198 hitter coming in, hit a three-run homer in the Cleveland fifth.
Tomlin (11-4) allowed a season-high seven earned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings and is 3-3 in 10 outings since an 8-1 start. Cleveland lost for the fourth time in five games, and its AL Central lead over second-place Detroit was cut to two games
''We can't keep looking over our back and see whose trying to catch us,'' Tomlin said. ''If we keep winning games, then no one can catch us.''
Even with the big lead, the Yankees didn't use Alex Rodriguez, who has one start and seven at-bats since July 22. He is stuck at 696 career home runs.
Francisco Mejia, a 20-year-old Indians catching prospect, doubled in the first inning for Class A Lynchburg, extending his hitting streak to 47 games. The first 22 games of the streak were for Class A Lake County.
LHP CC Sabathia (6-8) starts for the Yankees against his first big league club after going 1-4 with a 6.85 ERA in his last eight starts. RHP Corey Kluber (10-8), the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner, starts for the Indians.