NEW YORK -- The Yankees are doing everything they can to keep the band together. With trade speculation swirling throughout the Bronx, Starlin Castro homered and drove in four runs to lead New York to its third straight victory, a 7-1 decision over the division-leading Orioles on Tuesday at Yankee
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are doing everything they can to keep the band together. With trade speculation swirling throughout the Bronx, Starlin Castro homered and drove in four runs to lead New York to its third straight victory, a 7-1 decision over the division-leading Orioles on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Castro hit a two-run shot, his 11th, off Baltimore starter Vance Worley in the second inning and contributed a two-run double facing reliever Odrisamer Despaigne in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury also had a run-scoring single and Chase Headley hit a two-run homer, his ninth, in the eighth inning.
"It's big for us," Castro said. "I think we are a great team. We all feel [pressure]. I've been through a time like that, when teams are not playing good and start to trade guys. We'll just continue fighting, and I think we're going to be all right."
Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi worked 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit ball in his return to the rotation, but reliever Anthony Swarzak recorded the biggest outs of the evening, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth. Swarzak retired all eight Orioles he faced.
"Other teams in our division have been winning, and other teams that we're fighting for spots have been winning," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Tomorrow is an extremely big game; we know how good the Orioles are, but we have to come out and play our best game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
'Star' search: Castro came within one of his season high with four RBIs. After the New York second baseman crushed a two-run blast into the second deck in left field in the second, Castro then contributed the key two-run double off Despaigne in the sixth, which rolled to the wall in right field. Castro said that he was helped by a tip from Carlos Beltrán, who noticed Castro's hands seemed too tight at the plate.
"I have to be more loose," Castro said. "We look at the videos, he tells me what he thinks, I listened to him and I think that's helped me. … It's awesome, not only for me. He pays attention to all the guys in the lineup."
Quiet bats: For the second game in a row, the Orioles managed just one run. With Matt Wieters (right foot), Chris Davis (virus) and Hyun Soo Kim (right hamstring, disabled list) out of the lineup, Joey Rickard's RBI double in the sixth was Baltimore's only extra-base hit. Going into the third game of the series Wednesday, the Orioles have recorded nine hits in the Bronx.
"We're better than that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I know our guys are frustrated, but you've also got to tip your hat to their pitching." More >
Swarzak's escape: Bases loaded, one out and Mark Trumbo -- the Majors' leading home run hitter -- at the plate. It did not seem to be a promising matchup for Swarzak, entering as Eovaldi's night was complete after 5 1/3 frames. The right-hander answered the call, getting Trumbo to foul out to first baseman Rob Refsnyder on a nifty play deep down the line and inducing Jonathan Schoop to foul out to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
"Any time you've got a guy that's hot and can hit the ball over the fence, if you try to nitpick with them, you're going to get yourself in trouble," Swarzak said. "You just try to kind of go at them with your best stuff and challenge them." More >
Worley gets the hook early: In his first start since April 15, Worley threw a season-high 88 pitches and allowed just three earned runs. He left after 4 1/3 innings, forcing Showalter to use his bullpen for more than he would've liked. Worley didn't pitch poorly, but his early exit could leave the Baltimore bullpen shorthanded headed into the final two games of the series.
"Tomorrow I know I'm down if they do decide to put me in the 'pen. But I'm going to treat it as if I'm in the rotation until they tell me I'm not," Worley said.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ellsbury reached on catcher's interference in the first inning, marking the ninth time he has done so this season and establishing a new Major League record. Ellsbury has reached on catcher's interference 23 times in his career, the most by any Major Leaguer since Pete Rose (29).
"I went back and looked at the video, and I was shocked he was able to still get a piece of me. Ball's outside, and he's going to get it. He's done it quite often over the past few years. I guess you've got to get farther back. The only thing I'm concerned about is the farther back I get, then you're taking strikes out of the strike zone, so it's a happy medium there. But luckily, he didn't score." -- Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, on Ellsbury reaching on catcher's interference in the first
The Orioles successfully challenged a call at third base in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Ellsbury was initially ruled safe after stealing second base and advancing to third on a wild pitch. A review of approximately 40 seconds determined that Ellsbury was tagged out prior to touching the third-base bag, overturning the call.
Orioles: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 5.77 ERA) takes the hill for the Orioles in the third game of the series, which starts Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. In his past two starts, Gallardo has allowed two and three earned runs, respectively, but hasn't lasted longer than five innings either time.
Yankees: Right-hander Michael Pineda (3-9, 5.56 ERA), whose name has surfaced in trade rumors, will attempt to drown out the noise on Wednesday as he takes on Baltimore. Pineda is winless in his past six starts and is coming off a loss to the Red Sox in which he permitted five runs (all on three home runs) over five innings.
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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.
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.