New York Yankees: Is Gary Sanchez’s future in limbo yet again?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

It’s mid-2020, and the New York Yankee news is that Gary Sanchez may be traded, and that could be the same news from 2018, and now it is again becoming scuttlebutt this season yet again. This brings me to the TV series The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker. His constant search was for a serial killer named “Red John” who killed the Mentalist’s wife and child. The Killer’s signature was leaving a smiley face in blood on the wall of those he killed. When Baker saw that signature, he knew what was going on and who did it. The Yankees conversely see the writing on the wall with Gary Sanchez and chose to say, don’t worry, we have faith in him getting better.

The problem with all of this is that it is an agonizingly old story. Where does it end? Although Sanchez started the season with a weak spark, his batting average has constantly been slipping with each game. He is now down to an average of .182 after hitting .143 for all of last season. Add to that; he seems zapped of his power; 8 Yankee players have as many or more home runs.  Along with his catching failings, just like last season, he seems lost at the plate. He can’t hit fastballs, and changeups mystify him. When is it time to move on?

The irony in all of this is that his backup catcher is proving with each game that he is the better catcher, the better framer, the better game caller, and now the better hitter by far. It could be that the New York Yankees are getting the message earlier this season than last. Sanchez has already been benched in six of 23 games. That is twice as much as should reasonably be expected.

As a writer, I have oft been criticized for being so critical of Gary Sanchez. I can’t argue that, but at the same time, no one has wanted him to succeed more than I did and do, but there is a limit in waiting for unrealized potential to be realized. In the four years since 2018, he has a combined batting average of just .186.

Possibly trading away Sanchez could be the answer for both the New York Yankees and Sanchez himself. He may need a change of venue and a change in coaches to open up his potential. The only intriguing trade scenario I see is with the Colorado Rockies. That trade could involve the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres and the Rockies’ Trevor Story solving two problems for the Yankees. That would leave a hole at backup catcher. For this to happen, Higashioka would be promoted to full-time catcher, and the Yankees could choose to bring up Donny Sands or even the power-hitting catcher Josh Breaux.

It’s difficult to ignore the published results that Yankee ace Gerrit Cole had with Kyle Higashioka that continues to this day. After slow starts, both Corey Kluber and Domino German got their first wins of the season with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Whether they will publicly admit it or not, the new Yankees pitching staff seems to be more comfortable pitching to Higgy. It’s time for the Yankee front office to finally admit that Gary Sanchez in his fourth lackluster year may not be that catcher of the future they envisioned.

 

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone says Kyle Higashioka has earned more playing time

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees entered the season with two really good catchers: one, Gary Sanchez, was the starter ever since he broke in with the major league team, but had a lousy season in 2020 that cost him the starting gig for the playoffs.

The other one, Kyle Higashioka, was the one who replaced Sanchez come postseason time last year, but entered the 2021 campaign in a reserve role. The tables have turned by this point, since Sanchez is once again struggling, with a .182/.308/.309 line and two homers, while Higgy has turned into quite the offensive weapon, slashing .320/.414/.880 and four dingers.

Do you care to guess who is the Yankees’ leader in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in Fangraphs’ version? Yup, Kyle Higashioka paces all position players in the club with 0.8 after Tuesday’s games.

“He’s just earned more playing time — simple as that,” Boone said of Higashioka. “He’s done a great job. His improvements over the last couple of years on both sides of the ball have been strong. I think the way he’s played here at the onset of the season have earned him some more opportunities.”

The Yankees are trusting Higashioka’s great start

Higgy was one of the most valuable Yankees on Tuesday night, too, going 2-for-4 with a home run in the Bombers’ 5-1 victory in Camden Yards.

For Higashioka, having more playing time also means more exposure to big league pitching and testing his ability to make adjustments. But his defense alone warrants lots of games.

“[Higashioka] just has really elite glove skill,” said catching coach Tanner Swanson. “I think his hands work extremely well. They’re smooth, quiet. He’s got really strong pocket accuracy and subtly manipulates pitches back to the strike zone. He’s refined the art of that skill and is really, really consistent doing so.”

The Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com’s official team site that he has spoken to Sanchez about the reduction in playing time.

“They’re obviously both going to play a lot, but it’ll be kind of a day-by-day thing that I’ll try and communicate as best I can,” Boone said. “[Sánchez] understood the situation. He wants [to be] in the lineup, but I think he certainly understands that Higgy has earned some more things as well.”

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the win over the Orioles

Last night the New York Yankees met up with the Baltimore Orioles for game two of a four-game set. Fans didn’t know what to think after the Yankees lost game one to the O’s. The pitching wasn’t great, and the hitting was lacking. Last night was a night where the Yankees shined really for the first time this season. They pitched well and hit the ball like they haven’t all season. The Yankees mixed a bit of small ball with 3 homers to get the win over the Orioles 5-1.

Corey Kluber was the real Kluber last night

When Corey Kluber was with the Cleveland Indians and got two Cy Young Awards, he was called Klubot. Last night he became the Yankee’s Klubot. He was nothing short of spectacular. He pitched into the seventh inning, the first to do that outside of Gerrit Cole. He used 96 pitches, getting five strikeouts, walking two, and only allowing one run on the night, lowering his ERA to 4.15.

Kluber last night was the pitcher that Brian Cashman thought he could be when he signed him to a one-year $11 million contract. Kluber got off to a slow start this season, but that is expected from a pitcher that only pitched one inning last season. If Kluber can pitch like this in August, September, and more importantly, the New York Yankees will be elated in October. The normal somber expressionless Kluber, when he was taken out of the game in the seventh, walked to the dugout and was greeted by his teammates. After sat down, Gerrit Cole approached him, and Kluber let out with a big smile. The two talked.

The Yankees hit em and hit em hard

Last night the New York Yankees fell one hit shy of the most hits they have had in any game this season. The situational hitter was there too. Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and Giancarlo Stanton had home runs in the game. The Yankees also had several hard-hit balls that were caught. When the Yankees hit home runs and play clean ball like they did last night, they win games. However, there are concerns; Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and Clint Frazier are still not hitting. In last night’s game, Hicks and Frazier both went 0 for 4. Frazier now has 2 hits in his last 41 plate appearances.

The Yankee bullpen again dominated

After Corey Kluber’s outstanding performance into the seventh inning, he turned it over to the bullpen. Jonathan Loaisiga pitched 1.1 innings, not allowing a run and giving up just one hit while striking out 3 Orioles. Lucas Luetge followed with a scoreless ninth inning. Jonathan Loaisiga, with a 1.23 ERA, is becoming Aaron Boone’s go-to reliever that can be used at any time in the game. He is usually lights out and is becoming a premium reliever.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber and 12 hits win it for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees met up with the Baltimore Orioles for the second night in a row and game two of a four-game set at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won the first game 4-2. The  Yankees hoped to win tonight to have a chance for a series win. The Yankees have always played well at Camden Yards, but anything can happen tonight with the Yankees not hitting. The Yankees started Corey Kluber, and for the Orioles, it was Bruce Zimmermann. It was a partly cloudy night for baseball with a light 82-degree breeze at game time.

DJ LeMahieu led off the first against Zimmermann and greeting Zim with a double to left. Giancarlo Stanton struck out. Aaron Judge singled DJ to third base. Gio Urshela moved up to the third spot in the lineup had a sac fly to center to drive in DJ for the Yankees early going. Gleyber Torres, with two outs, flew out to left field. At the bottom, Mullins popped out to the catcher. Mancini went down on strikes. Stewart lined out to Torres to end the 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. No score.

The top of the second inning was led off by Aaron Hicks, who struck out swinging. Clint Frazier flew out to the center field. Kyle Higashioka had a two-out single to left. Rougie Odor singled to left, moving Higgy to second. LeMahieu popped out to second to end the half, but the Yankee got the lead in the game. At the bottom, Maikel Franco flew to Aaron Judge in right. Austin Hays walked. Chance Sisco was hit on the legs moving Hays to second base. Ryan Mountcastle hit into a double play ending the inning. Yankees 1 Orioles 0.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the third inning by striking out on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Aaron Judge hit a 397′ line-drive homer to left-center. Urshela stuck out. Gleyber Torres had a two-out double to the left-field wall. Aaron Hicks lined out to the shortstop to end the half, but the Yankees tacked on another run. At the bottom, Rio Ruiz went down on strikes. Pat Valaika flew out to Judge. Mullins went down on strikes for another 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. Yankees 2 O’s 0.

The New York Yankees led off the fourth with Clint Frazier flying out. Kyle Higashioka hit a home run. Rougie Odor lined to short for the second out. LeMahieu singled to left. Stanton hit a rocket to the middle, moving DJ to second. Judge walked the bases full of Yankees. A pitching change brought in Dillon Tate to face Gio Urshela, who singled driving in LeMahieu, but Stanton trying to score, was called out. Yankees  4 O’s 0.  At the bottom, Mancini led off with an inning opening double. Stewart ground out with Mancini moving to third base. Franco singled in Mancini. Hays went down on strikes looking for the second out. Sisco grounded out to Odor. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Gleber Torres started the fifth inning by singling to center. Aaron Hicks at the plate, but Torres was called out trying to steal second base. Hick ground out. Frazier chopped out to the pitcher Tate to end the inning. Mountcastle led off the bottom by flying out to Frazier. Ruiz singled. Valaika flew out to Judge. Mullins popped out to Torres. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Kyle Higashioka led off the sixth inning, lining out. Rougie Odor lined out on a super bullet shot to second base. LeMahieu grounded out to short for a quick Tate inning. With Corey Kluber still on the mound for his longest outing of the year, Mancini walked. Stewart blooped out to Hicks. Franco singled to center, moving Mancini to third base. Hays hit sharply to Urshela for out number two. Sisco lined to first to end the inning. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the seventh inning, hitting his sixth home run of the season (434′). Judge struck out swinging, and that did it for Tate. The new pitcher was Cole Sulser facing Gio Urshela, who flew out to center. Torres, with two outs, struck out swinging to end the scoreless half. Kluber, with 81 pitches, was back out to face Mountcastle, who led off at the bottom and singled to left. Ruiz struck out. Valaika flew out to far-right, but Judge hauled it in for the second out. Mullins singled, which was the night for Corey Kluber, who has by far his best outing of the season. He was replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga, facing Mancini, who lined out. Yankees 5 O’s 1.

Aaron Hicks led off the eighth inning for the New York Yankees by striking out swinging. Clint Frazier flew out, and Higashioka popped up to catcher Sisco. At the bottom of the eighth, Stewart led off against Loaisiga walking. Franco struck out swinging. Hays singled, moving Stewart to second base. Sisco, with one out, struck out for the second out. Mountcastle struck out for 3 strikeouts in the inning for Loaisiga. Yankees 5 O’s 1.

Rougie Odor led off the ninth for the New York Yankees walking. LeMahieu also walked. Stanton hit into a double play moving Odor to third base. Aaron Judge struck out swinging to end the Yankee night. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Orioles, Rio Ruiz faced Lucas Luetge, and he ground out to Urshela for the first out. Pat Valaika flew out to Frazier, replacing Judge in right. Cedric Mullins ground out to first to end the game.

Final score New York Yankees 5 the Baltimore Orioles 1. The winning pitcher was Corey Kluber, and the loser was Bruce Zimmermann.

 

New York Yankees: Kyle Higashioka needs to remain in the lineup regularly

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees have had plenty of offensive issues through 18 games, but they’ve had one guy that has consistently produced this season. It isn’t DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, or anyone else you’d typically think. Rather, it’s been backup catcher Kyle Higashioka making noise at the plate in 2021.

After going just 4-for-30 in Spring Training, many were concerned about what his offensive production would be this season. However, he’s been the best hitter on the Yankees in this early season. His play has taken some at-bats away from Gary Sanchez and has proven he deserves a regular spot in the lineup.

In nine games this season, Higashioka is 6-for-17 from the plate (.353) with an incredible 1.476 OPS. Five of his six hits have been for extra bases, and three of them were home runs. Higashioka also leads the team with a 0.7 WAR, the next closest being Aaron Judge at 0.4.

The Yankees have also felt his impacts on defense, as the pitching staff has a 2.67 ERA when Higashioka is behind the dish. Gary Sanchez’s ERA with pitchers is still solid at 3.67, but Higashioka’s number is extremely impressive. In comparison, the Philadelphia Phillies have a 4.17 team ERA, which is 15th in MLB.

The point being, Higashioka needs to remain in the lineup regularly for the New York Yankees. With all the offensive struggles, Higashioka’s been one of the few bright spots, and his two hits against Cleveland on Thursday were no exceptions.

However, it’ll take a little creativity to keep Higashioka in the lineup daily. Gary Sanchez certainly hasn’t been the Yankees’ worst hitter, so he still deserves plenty of at-bats. On the other hand, Clint Frazier has really struggled in left field and is seeing less playing time. Brett Gardner has struggled as well, so could we see Giancarlo Stanton get some starts in left field while having Sanchez DH and Higashioka catch?

We’ll see how Aaron Boone organizes the lineup in the coming days, but we should fully expect to see Higashioka play again on Saturday at the latest. Gerrit Cole pitches then, and he faces the reigning CY Young in Shane Bieber. That’ll be another great opportunity to pair the Cole — Higashioka duo together again, as you want your best against your opponent’s best.

Regardless of who the Yankees are pitching and who the team is facing, Kyle Higashioka needs more at-bats. His play has shown he deserves playing time and he’s been one of the few productive players on the Yankees to start the season.

Yankees: Aaron Boone plans on using Cole and Higashioka ‘a lot’

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka, gerrit cole

The Yankees took down the Blue Jays in the series opener 3-1. A very good outing from Cole and the bullpen gave the Yankees the edge on Monday night. It was the second time we saw the pairing of Cole and Higashioka this season. This is something that has become more common since the end of last season. As it turns out, Higashioka getting the start ended up being the difference.

Higashioka was batting eighth in his second start of the year. He’s always been a catcher more known for his defense as opposed to his offense, but his bat showed up Monday night. He was responsible for all three runs that were batted in. His two-home run and three RBI effort was a much-needed spark for New York offensively. It was another game in which the offense couldn’t string any hits together. This made Higashioka’s presence in the lineup vital for the Yankees. 

Will the pair be used more often?

Aaron Boone was asked after the game about the plan regarding Cole and Higashioka moving forward. A duo that Yankee fans have seen a lot of in Cole’s recent starts. He responded by saying that Higashioka “is going to catch [Cole] a lot.” However, he also said that he still plans to match up Sanchez and Cole as well. A pair that we have seen a lot of in Cole’s time with New York. 

In starts with Sanchez catching, Cole’s line is: 69.1 IP, 53 H, 24 ER, 19 BB, 91 SO, with 14 home runs allowed.

In starts with Higashioka behind the dish, Cole’s line is: 38.1 IP, 25 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 59 SO, with 5 home runs allowed.

Throughout the year, expect Boone to mix things up. He will most likely try and use Higashioka more going forward, but it seems like Sanchez will get his fair share as well. It will be something fans talk about throughout the season. 

New York Yankees: Kyle Higashioka is turning into a Blue Jay killer

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

In last night’s victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, it wasn’t who you think it’d be propelling the New York Yankees to their fifth win of the season. The top six batters in the New York order went hitless, leaving it to the bottom three for production.

With one out in the fifth, newly-acquired Yankee Rougned Odor roped a curveball down the first-base line for the team’s first hit of the evening. Just three pitches later, back-up catcher Kyle Higashioka took an 0-2 fastball over the centerfield wall for a two-run home run, putting the Yankees ahead 2-1. Higashioka came up once again in the eighth inning and provided the Yankees some insurance, lacing another home run to give the team a two run advantage.

Not just that he was great offensively, but Higashioka called another great game for ace Gerrit Cole. In six innings, Cole allowed just three hits and one run against the Blue Jays, all of which were early on. Cole retired his last 15 batters of the evening.

This performance from Kyle Higashioka may seem somewhat surprising, but he’s making a habit of killing the Blue Jays. On September 16, 2020, Higashioka laced three home runs against Toronto, another game in which Cole was on the mound. In his career, Higashioka bats .279 against the Blue Jays with five home runs and a .986 OPS.

In four games this season (two starts), Higashioka is a quick 4-for-7 and swinging one of the hottest bats on the team. Some people had concerns about his rough Spring Training performance, but so far, Higashioka looks locked in to start the 2021 season.

In the future, we should continue to see Higashioka catch Cole regularly. Most of Gary Sanchez’s off-days happen to fall on days that Cole is expected to pitch, and that helps the team as Cole performs significantly better with Higashioka catching. However, we may be seeing more of Higashioka altogether with how hot he’s been to start the season.

 

Yankees: Everything clicked for the Cole – Higashioka battery

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

After a successful showing last season, the Gerrit Cole – Kyle Higashioka battery paid huge dividends to the New York Yankees once again on Monday, as the two players were the main reason the team pulled out a narrow 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone doesn’t want to commit to Higgy as Cole’s personal catcher, but he did say the pairing will work together a lot. And it’s hard not to see future pairings down the road, as after a rocky beginning, Cole retired the final 15 Blue Jays he faced en route to the victory.

Higashioka, the Yankees’ backup catcher behind Gary Sanchez, hit two homers and was basically the entire offense last night.

“I think he’s just a great pitcher,” Higashioka told MLB.com. “Every time he goes out there, he mentally and physically prepares 100 percent, so you know you’re getting his best effort no matter what. That makes our job as catchers easy.”

The Yankees’ highly successful tandem

Cole has pitched nine games (all starts, of course) to Higashioka in his career. In those contests, the Yankees’ ace has a 1.52 ERA, and that includes playoffs.

“He’s going to catch him a lot,” Boone said of Higashioka. “I like it because it usually lines up with wanting to give Gary a day. There’s going to be days where Gary catches him, but as the schedule unfolds, a lot of times it’s going to work out that it makes sense to get Higgy in there.”

Cole pitched six frames and allowed only one run and a walk, with eight strikeouts. “They were on it tonight, so I wasn’t afforded the ability to take any pitches off,” said Cole, who threw 42 pitches in the first two innings. “It was a bit of a tightrope walk early. You just try to keep the blinders on and focus on what we’re doing, and try to keep improving throughout the game.”

As for Higgy, the Yankees’ skipper was impressed with his power display.

“We know about his power,” Boone said. “He demonstrated that last year. I thought he was great behind the plate tonight, and obviously we needed every bit of it.”

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Yankees win over the Jays

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Last night, the New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays for the second set of the young season. The Jays won two of the three-game set in the first meeting. Last night the Yankees turned the tables on the Jays, winning the game 3-1. The game was held in Dunedin, Florida, at TD Stadium because the Jays can not yet play at Roger’s Center in Toronto.

Gerrit Cole was mostly dominant

Last night Gerrit Cole started for the New York Yankees, and Robbie Ray started for the Jays. It was Ray’s Blue Jay debut as he was on the IL at the beginning of the season due to falling down a flight of stairs, missing two starts. Cole first faced Marcus Semien, who popped out to catcher Higashioka, Bo Bichette singled. Vlad Guerrero Jr. singled, moving Bichette to third with one out. Randal Grichuk flew out, but Bichette scored for the Jays lead. Cavan Biggio struck out swinging to end the half, but the Jays put up a run. Cole looked a bit shaky in the first but became dominant in the rest of the game.

The game was the second game in a row that backup catcher Kyle Higashioka caught Cole. He won both games with Kyle catching. In his first game, he had a no-decision being caught by Gary Sanchez. This is important because the duo of Cole and “Higgy” produced an ERA last season of 1.10. When being caught by Sanchez, his ERA was 3.91.

Higashioka became Cole’s personal catcher late in the season and in the postseason with excellent results. But at the start of spring training, manager Aaron Boone made it clear that that would no longer be the case. Knowing the comfort zone of the Cole/Higgy duo made this writer scratch his head.

With a small but important sample, that relationship this season seems to be taking hold. In Cole’s first game of the season, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA. In the last two games caught by Higashioka, he has brought his ERA down to 1.47, giving up no home runs while striking out 21 hitters over 13 innings.

The writing seems to be on the wall, but in a post-game interview last night, when asked if he would stick with Higashioka, Boone said Sanchez would catch Cole, but he was sure Higashioka would get plenty of starts. If the Yankees hope to win the division, it seems they should limit Sanchez’s catching duties when Cole is on the mound. It seems to this writer that it is a no-brainer.

On a side note that is still prominent, Higashioka showed his power behind the plate last night, hitting 2 home runs, tieing for the most home runs of any Yankee. He now has a batting average of .571, the highest of any Yankee with 7 plate appearances. He has a ridiculously high OPS of 2.196.

Yankee bullpen remains stellar

New York Yankees bullpen was again on fire last night. Starter Gerrit Cole went six innings before being replaced by the bullpen. The combination of Justin Wilson, Darren O’Day, and Aroldis Chapman combined with Cole to quiet the Blue Jays lineup, putting down 20 Jays in a row for the Yankee win.

Yankee hitters still need a spark

The New York Yankees won the game last night 3-1 over the Blue Jays, but the Yankee hitting still wasn’t as active as it should be. If it weren’t for the Yankee’s excellent pitching, they probably would have lost the game, they only garnered up 4 hits through nine innings, and none of those hits came from the first 6 in the lineup.

All of the run production came from the bottom 3 hitters in the lineup. Kyle Higashioka who won the game for the Yankees, and Rougned Odor, for the second night in a row, and Mike Tauchman. Odor seems to be adding a spark to the Yankee lineup. In his first Yankee appearance, he won the game for the Yankees. Last night, he got a hit in the game and has not had a Yankee strikeout.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Higashioka homers twice, pitching stellar in Yankee win

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Last night the New York Yankees faced the Toronto Blue Jays for the fourth time this season. The game was at TD Stadium in Dunedin, Florida, the temporary home of the Blue Jays, until they can get back into Roger’s Center in Toronto. Ace Gerrit Cole started for the Yankees and Robbie Ray for the Jays. Cole is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA on the season. Ray is made his Jay’s debut after falling down stairs and starting the season on the IL. There were 1,500 fans in the stands; it looked like much more because many seats were filled with fan cutouts. The Yankees won the game 3-1.

Robbie Ray took to the mound in the first facing DJ LeMahieu, who struck out. Giancarlo Stanton, in the unusual number two spot, ground out to first base. Aaron Judge flew out to right field, ending the half. At the bottom, Marcus Semien popped out to catcher Higashioka, Bo Bichette singled. Vlad Guerrero Jr. singles moving Bichette to third with one out. Randal Grichuk flew out, but Bichette scored for the Jays lead. Cavan Biggio struck out swinging to end the have, but the Jays put up a run. Jays 1, Yankees 0.

Gleyber Torres led off the second against Robbie Ray, and he walked. Gio Urshela hit into a double play. Clint Frazier walked. Rougned Odor ground up the middle to end the half. Lourds Gurriel Jr. led off the bottom, walking. Rowdy Tellez singled. Alejandro Kirk was called out of strikes. Josh Palacios struck out, as did Marcus Semien getting Cole out of the inning. Jays 1 Yankees 0.

To start the third, Kyle Higashioka flew out. Mike Tauchman made the second out, flying out to center. DJ LeMahieu struck out for the fast half for Ray. Bo Bichette lead of the bottom flying out to Tauchman. Guerrero Jr., he struck out. Grichuk also flew out to Tauchman, who was in for Aaron Hicks in center to end the inning.

At the top of the fourth, Giancarlo Stanton ground out. Aaron Judge walked. Gleyber Torres flew way out to right, and Gio Urshela ground out to end the half. The New York Yankees had failed to get a hit off Ray. Baggio led off the bottom of the fourth by flying out to Tauchman. Gurriel Jr. ground out, and Tellez lined out to left, making for Cole’s quick inning. Jays 1 Yankees. 0.

Clint Frazier led off the fifth by striking out. Odor got the Yankees’ first hit of the night down the right-field line. Kyle Higashioka hit a home run over the center-field stands driving in two runs and giving the New York Yankee the 2 run lead in the game. Mike Tauchman followed with the third straight hit off Ray for a single. LeMahieu hit into a double play to end the inning, but the Yankees took the 2 run lead off Higashioka’s home run. Kirk ground out on a bullet to Urshela. Palacios went down on strikes. Semien flew out to Clint Frazier in left for a 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Rafael Dolis replaced Robbie Ray in the sixth, and he struck out Giancarlo Stanton. Aaron Judge walked, Gleyber Torres hit into a double play, leaving Judge on base. Cole took to the mound in the sixth, having thrown 80 pitches. Bichette struck out swinging. Guerrero Jr. ground out, and Grichuk struck out for another 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Urshela ground out to start the seventh, with Frazier following with another ground out. The Jays then had a pitching change bringing in Borucki. Odor grounded out to end the half. Cavan Biggio led off the bottom with Justin Wilson pitching. Cole had put down the last 15 Jays in a row. Biggio flew out to Gardner that was replacing Frazier in left field. Gurriel Jr. flew out to Tauchman, and Tellez ground out as the Yankee bullpen continued to be dominant. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Kyle Higashioka started off the eighth inning by getting his second home run of a night, a long one to centerfield. Tauchman struck out, and the Jays had another pitching change to Thronton. Lemahieu struck out for the third time, and Stanton ground out to third. At the bottom, Darren O’Day took over for Wilson. Panik struck out. Palacios flew out to Gardner, who didn’t have to move to make the catch. Semien got a two-out single to left field. Bichette walked. Guerrero Jr. struck out to get the job done for O’Day.

At the top of the ninth inning, Aaron Judge ground out to third base. Gleyber Torres struck out. Gio Urshela walked. They had a pitching change bringing in  Tim Mayza to face Gardner. Urshela stole second. Gardy stuck out. Aroldis Chapman came in at the bottom to close it out for the New York Yankees. Grichuk doubled; Tauchman laid out his body but couldn’t catch it. Biggio flew out to Gardner. Gurriel Jr. struck out. Tellez struck out, ending the game with the Yankee’s 3-1 win. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, and the loser was Robbie Ray, and the save went to Chapman.