Games like Tuesday’s are why the Seattle Mariners traded three of their top five prospects for pitcher Luis Castillo.
Castillo (5-4, 2.95 ERA) is scheduled to make his home debut as the Mariners take on the New York Yankees and ace Gerrit Cole (9-4, 3.56).
The two right-handers met Wednesday in New York, with Castillo and the Mariners winning 7-3. Cole gave up six runs in the first inning, including homers by Eugenio Suarez, Carlos Santana and Jarred Kelenic.
The Yankees were among the teams rumored to be interested in Castillo, regarded as the top starter available at the trade deadline. After he went from Cincinnati to Seattle, the Yankees pivoted to acquire Frankie Montas from Oakland.
“Obviously, I heard all the rumors throughout the whole journey,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “I’ve heard that five, six teams — a lot of rumors that a lot of teams were looking for me. But I was always focused on doing my job, and luckily (I was) traded here to Seattle and I’m happy.
“It feels good. I mean, you’re coming to a team that is so close to getting to that postseason. The only thing left is just continue doing what the team has been doing and working hard, and I’m sure we’ll get there.”
Castillo, who is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against New York, joins former Cincinnati Reds teammates Suarez and Jesse Winker in Seattle. The sluggers came over in an offseason trade.
Winker could hardly contain his excitement when word of the Castillo trade filtered through the clubhouse, though the Mariners were in the midst of an 11-1 loss at Houston.
“For Luis, just playing with him for so long, I don’t think there’s a moment that he’s not prepared for. He’s not afraid of any lineup and any situation that’s kind of thrown his way. He just pitches,” Winker said. “He’s just nails.”
Castillo showed that last Wednesday. He allowed one run through six innings before allowing a two-run homer to Kyle Higashioka with two outs in the seventh.
Seattle manager Scott Servais compared Castillo to a former Mariner.
“I wasn’t the manager here during the vintage Felix Hernandez days, but kind of looking at Felix when he was coming through in his heyday, that’s what it reminded me of,” Servais said. “This guy is a dude.”
Cole settled down and completed six innings after that rocky first frame against the Mariners.
“It’s hard to believe how it blows up so quick,” said Cole, who is 6-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 10 career starts against Seattle.
The Yankees won the series opener 9-4 Monday night as Aaron Judge hit his major-league-leading 44th home run, a 425-foot shot to straightaway center field. Josh Donaldson went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs.
The win was costly as New York’s Matt Carpenter suffered a broken bone when fouling a pitch off his left foot in the first inning.
“I don’t know the time frame on it,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s just become such an important factor in that room. You know everybody loves him, so it’s a blow. You know hopefully we get him back at some point.”