Catching Gerrit Cole for the third game in a row, Higashioka hit a two-run homer in the third inning, flew to the warning track in the fourth, hit an empty home run in the sixth and a two-run homer. points to the seventh.
“I think at this point the way he’s swinging, I could be his personal pitcher,” Cole said of Higashioka, who was a teammate with Cole on the Southern California Summer Tour at adolescence.
The Yankees tied a season high with a seventh straight victory that followed a 20-6 flogging by the Blue Jays on Tuesday night when they hit six home runs. They passed that by a Wednesday.
In addition to the Higashioka power show, DJ LeMahieu hit two home runs and Clint Frazier and Luke Voit added one each. Voir leads the circuit majors with 19.
Higashioka started the night with seven big league home runs in 178 batting and is considered a first defensive catcher with some pop if pitchers are lacking in the inside half.
“He’s an elite receiver, I mean he has amazing hands behind the plate,” Aaron Boone said of Higashioka, 30, who was a Yankees seventh round pick in the 2008 draft. . “And he has power in the plate. There’s the power potential that’s in there and you’ve seen it unfold tonight. ”
Higashioka’s first three hits were homers, but the first ended a grueling indoctrination for the majors, so hitting three Wednesday night overtook the first three.
“I think he might be number one. The top three came after a 0 for 22 and they were three of 12 hits at bat, ”said Higashioka, who was not lacking in joining Lou Gehrig as the only Yankee to hit four home runs in a game. when he flew to the left warning trail in the fourth round.
Cole’s second solid outing was overshadowed by Higashioka’s muscle in which he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. He’s 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA and earned his 100th career victory.
The victory pushed the Yankees within three lengths of the AL East lead Rays. The three-game deficit is actually four since the Rays won the season series against the Yankees and held the tiebreaker.
With 11 games to go, the Yankees hold a game-and-a-half advantage over the Blue Jays in the race for second place, which brings an automatic bid to the postseason tournament.
Higashioka became the 23rd player to score three or more home runs in a regular season game in Yankee history. Among the members of this fraternity joined by Higashioka are Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez.
“What a performance. He has that kind of power. I think he did a great job being aggressive with the fastball. The grounds he was fouled on the other day, he didn’t miss them, ”said Boone. “Great job behind the plate and a night at the plate that he will remember forever. ”
And reinforced something that every player knows.
“It’s kind of crazy how baseball works sometimes,” said Higashioka, who started the night hitting .188 (6-for-32). “One minute you can’t hit the ball to save your life and the next game you play you go three over the fence. It’s a bit crazy, but I hope that as a team we continue to swing the bats well. “