Castro homers for Yankees in return to Chicago

CHICAGO — Starlin Castro had to admit he enjoyed hitting a two-run homer against his former team.

Castro began his career and spent six seasons with the Chicago Cubs. This weekend, he’s back in Chicago as his current team, the New York Yankees, faces the defending World Series champions.

Castro greeted the Cubs with a two-run shot in the fourth inning as the Yankees romped to an 11-6 victory on Saturday night.

“Come back here and hit a homer, it’s really fun,” Castro said. “I feel really good to come here and compete against my ex-team.”

Castro finished with three hits, and Aaron Hicks’ four hits tied a career high as the second baseman and center fielder were a combined 7-for-9 with six RBIs and five runs scored.

Castro got the home run ball after a fan threw it back.

“I just try to play good here against my ex-team,” said Castro, who was a three-time All-Star with the rebuilding Cubs.

Hicks hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Hicks heard some encouragement from teammate CC Sabathia. Hicks gestured back to the dugout after the home run.

“CC was like, ‘It’s been awhile since you hit a homer,” and he was saying I should probably hit a homer,” Hicks said. “I’m not going to try to force it. I ended up hitting it, and I got excited and pointed back at CC.”

The Yankees scored five times in the first inning en route to their fourth straight victory and 18th in 23 games.

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (2-1) allowed three runs (two earned) and three hits in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander exited after giving up an RBI triple to Ben Zobrist.

“My change-up was the best it’s been,” Montgomery said. “It was good to have it back the way it’s been most of my life.”

Cubs starter Brett Anderson (2-2) departed early because of lower back tightness after another rocky outing. He recorded one out and allowed five runs and six hits after throwing 23 pitches.

“We just can’t continue on that path right now,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Anderson will likely go on the 10-day disabled list. He began feeling discomfort after his errant throw to first base.

“Nobody feels worse than I do,” Anderson said. “It’s embarrassing is pretty much the only way I can put it.”

Javier Baez hit an RBI single and Miguel Montero added a two-run infield single in a three-run eighth for Chicago.

Montero, normally a catcher, took the mound in the ninth for his second career appearance as a pitcher. He issued two walks but pitched a scoreless inning before tipping his hat as he left the mound.

“Whenever the backup catcher gets more outs than you, that’s obviously not a positive,” Anderson said.

Anderson allowed three doubles, including a two-run hit to Chase Headley, and spiked a throw to first base for an error in the first inning. Anderson has allowed 12 runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last two starts and 21 in 11 1/3 innings in his last four.

The Yankees added a run in the third when Chris Carter’s grounder skipped past third baseman Kris Bryant for an error.

Castro hit his sixth homer of the season for an 8-0 lead in the fourth.

“I don’t try to hit a homer — I just try to play good here,” Castro said.

Chicago reliever Felix Pena departed after allowing three runs (two earned) and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The Cubs ended the shutout on Jon Jay’s groundout after Albert Almora Jr. walked and advanced on a double in the fifth. Another run scored on shortstop Didi Gregorius’ wild throw to first base.

“The sky is not falling for me. Please. We just had a bad night,” Maddon said.

NOTES: The Cubs recalled LHP Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa and designated OF Matt Szczur for assignment before Saturday’s game. Chicago OF Jason Heyward was out of the starting lineup with a sore knuckle on his right hand after making a dive Friday but was available off the bench. … Cubs OF/C Kyle Schwarber got a day of rest against a starting left-hander. … Chicago RHP Hector Rondon was unavailable for rest. … Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury (elbow) remained out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game. …Yankees RF Aaron Judge batted cleanup for the first time in his career and was 0-for-5. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he is looking at starting Matt Holliday at first base on Sunday against LHP Jon Lester for his first appearance in the field this season.

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