NEW YORK -- Starlin Castro hit a walk-off home run on the second pitch he saw from Jason Motte in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Yankees to a 9-8 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon to earn a split of the two-game Interleague series at Yankee
NEW YORK -- Starlin Castro hit a walk-off home run on the second pitch he saw from Jason Motte in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Yankees to a 9-8 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon to earn a split of the two-game Interleague series at Yankee Stadium.
"It feels great," Castro said. "Especially to win the game like that in the ninth, it feels awesome. This is the first time I hit a homer to win the game."
Trailing by four runs heading to the seventh, Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer and Didi Gregorius lined a run-scoring single as the Yankees sent 10 men to the plate, tying the game against Colorado relievers Jordan Lyles, Boone Logan and Miguel Castro. Aroldis Chapman picked up the victory after working a scoreless top half of the ninth.
"That shows that we never give up," Gregorius said. "The bullpen kept us there. We put up some runs and then tied the game. Castro hit a big walk-off homer. It's good that we kept fighting."
Nick Hundley's three-run homer highlighted the early barrage against starter CC Sabathia, who was unable to hold a lead provided by Chase Headley's second-inning grand slam. Charlie Blackmon also lined a two-run single off Sabathia, who permitted six runs (five earned) over 4 1/3 innings. Ryan Raburn added a two-run shot in the fifth off Anthony Swarzak.
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Beltran's timely blast: Beltran's convincing All-Star case picked up some more steam with his 19th homer of the season, a long three-run blast off Lyles that landed in the right-field bleachers. That shot, with Rob Refsnyder and Brett Gardner aboard, brought the Yankees within one run and matched Beltran's home run total for all of the 2015 season. He has hit seven homers in his last 16 games. Gregorius cashed the tying run with a sharp single to left-center field off Castro.
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"Four runs playing in this ballpark, we felt that if we could put something together, we could have a chance to get it close," Beltran said. "That's what we did. I thought we put at-bat after at-bat, good ones, and that was a key for us. We really gave ourselves an opportunity to close the gap and be able to win this one."
Hundley for the lead: With his team trailing by two and facing a pitcher in Sabathia who had allowed just five earned runs in his last seven starts and three innings, Hundley launched his three-run homer into the seats, scoring Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds and giving the Rockies a 5-4 lead in the fourth. The blast was Hundley's fourth of the season and the first of the day for a Rockies team that has been power happy with five home runs over the past two days.
"Getting down early, fighting our way back, scoring eight runs, you want to win that game," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You should win that game. But we were a little limited on the back end of the bullpen today."
Sabathia stumbles: Owning an 0.82 ERA over his previous seven starts, Sabathia slipped -- literally and figuratively -- on Wednesday. The Rockies peppered the big lefty for six runs (five earned) and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, handing him his first loss since May 31 at Toronto. Sabathia also received a visit from the trainer after he lost his footing on a pitch to Nolan Arenado, but stayed in the game to face one more batter.
"He turned his right ankle a little bit in that third inning, backing up home on the hit that Blackmon had, and I don't know how much that affected him moving forward," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He got X-rays and they were negative. But he turned his right ankle and we're thinking, 'This is not what you need.' So hopefully he'll make his next start." More >
Bullpen bummer: After taking over for Jon Gray in the fifth inning after the Rox starter exited with arm fatigue, the Colorado bullpen struggled to hold onto the lead he left them. Rockies relievers combined to allow five runs in five innings, including four runs in a game-changing bottom of the seventh inning. Motte said of allowing the walk-off home run that he hadn't yet watched the tape to see what happened, but he suspects that the changeup following the fastball contributed to how quickly Castro was able to turn on the pitch.
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When the Yankees scored a run against Logan in the seventh inning, it ended the Major League's longest active scoreless inning streak at 15 2/3 innings. Logan had accrued that streak over 22 appearances dating back to April 10.
Rockies: The Rockies head home Thursday for a four-game series against the divisional-rival Arizona Diamondbacks and have to contend with ace Zack Greinke in the opener at 6:40 p.m. MT. On the mound for the Rockies will be Eddie Butler, who is returning to the rotation after making his last appearance out of the bullpen.
Yankees: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees return to action on Friday in the Bronx, opening a three-game series with the Twins at 7:05 ET. Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 2.91 ERA) would love to repeat his performance last time out, when he held the Twins to a run on seven hits over eight innings, picking up his first win since May 27.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com
since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.