Yanks: 6-plus HRs AGAIN (that's history)

Higashioka hits three, LeMahieu tallies two

September 17th, 2020

NEW YORK -- beamed as he rounded second base once again on Wednesday, savoring his third home run trot of the evening. It was another night to remember for the Yankees’ vaunted offense, one that continued to brighten their postseason outlook.

Higashioka cracked three of his club’s seven deep drives in another rout of the Blue Jays, joined in the muscle department by a two-homer performance as the Yankees celebrated their seventh consecutive victory with a 13-2 laugher at Yankee Stadium.

It marked the first time in franchise history the Yankees have hit at least six homers in back-to-back games: a feat that has now been achieved five times in the Majors, the last time by the Blue Jays on Aug. 12-14 of this season. New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto in the American League East, three games behind the Rays.

“It’s crazy how baseball works sometimes,” Higashioka said. “One minute you can't hit the ball to save your life, and then the next game you pop three over the fence.”

extended his Major League home run lead with his 19th blast and also went deep as the Bronx Bombers continued to live up to their moniker, backing 's 100th career victory on the heels of a 20-6 drubbing in Tuesday’s series opener.

“Up and down, it’s been a lot of good at-bats from a lot of different people,” said manager Aaron Boone. “When you do that, you’re able to apply so much pressure. You start running pitch counts up and eventually you’re able to break them.”

Ready for launch
The Yankees’ seven homers were their most ever at the current Yankee Stadium, which opened its gates in 2009. LeMahieu sparked the bats with his Majors-leading fifth leadoff homer, and Higashioka cracked a two-run shot to the loading dock in left-center field in the third inning.

“I’m just seeing the ball good right now,” LeMahieu said. “My power numbers usually come in bunches. When you’re in a good zone, it makes hitting a lot more fun.”

Frazier and LeMahieu cleared the wall in the fourth inning off Tanner Roark, who surrendered six runs and six hits. Higashioka went deep again in the sixth, an inning that featured a Voit drive so high that it eluded capture by Statcast, to say nothing of the Toronto defense.

“I would say the confidence has grown with every run that we put on the board,” Frazier said. “We have 33 runs in the last two games. I think that speaks for itself.”

Up in the air
Frazier wondered aloud if Higashioka’s fresh haircut deserved credit for the power display. During the Yanks’ recent swoon, Higashioka enlisted bullpen catcher Radley Haddad to buzz his shaggy locks. His reward: the first three-homer performance by a Yankee since Gary Sánchez on April 7, 2019, at Baltimore.

“Things just weren’t really going my way,” Higashioka said. “A few years back, [Haddad] took my sideburns off accidentally, and I went on a pretty good hot streak. I figured it might work again.”

This season marked the 30-year-old Higashioka’s first appearance on an Opening Day roster, and throughout his organizational career, his calling card has been his elite receiving and game-calling -- which he flashed again on Wednesday, helping Cole carry a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Even so, the club has spoken highly of his power -- even through an 0-for-22 start to his career, the longest such drought for any Yankees position player. Higashioka capped the carnage with a two-run shot in the seventh, putting the Yanks up by a dozen. That blast went to right field, completing a circuit after his first two had traveled out to center field and left field. He also narrowly missed another homer on a deep fourth-inning flyout.

“He’s got that kind of power,” Boone said. “I thought he did a great job being aggressive with some fastballs. He got a few pitches to do damage with tonight, and he didn’t miss them. It’s a night he’ll remember forever.”