NEW YORK — Kyle Higashioka, a veteran of the Yankees organization, thought he knew what it was like to deliver a golden victory at Yankee Stadium. He experienced the thrill of victory several times, stepping out of the dugout to celebrate a teammate’s game-winning hit, but he never got the chance.
On Sunday, Higashioka put an end to the oddity when he reached second base with a game-winning double. The Yankees won 4-3 In 13 innings against the Brewers, he suddenly found himself with Aaron Judge, Venezuelan Kleyber Torres and others already trying to rip off his uniform shirt.
“I just hoped they wouldn’t take everything away from me. Nobody has to see that,” said Higashioka, who is in his seventh season in New York. “The support of the boys is a great feeling. I hope we can play well together throughout the season. This last stretch of the year says a lot about character. .No matter the circumstances you have to try your best and play your best.
The circumstances, for much of Sunday afternoon, were a mix of frustration and strangeness. With one out, the Yankees turned to their right and went back to the dugout, unable to find Corbin Burns through eight innings and giving him a hit. Fortunately for the Yankees, Gerrit Cole battled back and forth with Barnes and threw blanks.
Milwaukee’s bullpen held the Yankees hitless for nine innings, then 10, when Saul Frelick and Joey Weimer hit. Frelick’s sensational catch Off the right field wall, Anthony Volpe robbed what would have been the game-winning hit, leaving Weimer bleeding at the mouth.
Venezuelan Osvaldo Cabrera stopped the Brewers from reaching the longest 11-inning no-hitter in major league history by hitting a double with one out in the eleventh. When the Yankees appeared to be down two lines in the top of the 12th, Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run home run into the Bombers’ bullpen to tie the score, so the game remained until Higashioka sealed New York’s sixth win. A competitor in the field this year.
“They held us hitless for 10 innings and then we started reacting,” Cole said. “We started to gain some momentum, so it was a nice combination of two stories that ended up being a win.”
Burns kept the bats quiet, limiting the Yankees to a pair of walks in the fifth, writing franchise history as he bolstered his case to win the American League Cy Young Award. With seven solid three-hit innings, Cole improved his ERA to 2.79, best in the AL. His 23 starts with two runs or fewer are tops in the majors.
He added his 200th “K” of 2023 against Venezuelan Andrew Monasterio in the fifth inning, becoming the first Yankees pitcher to have 200 or more strikeouts in three seasons.
“It’s a really cool number,” Cole admitted. “I still have some work to do. I’ve done that a few times (scored 200 runs) and it’s something I’m proud of. Many people in this clubhouse have contributed. The ball is out of my hands, but a lot of the thinking comes from other people. “I’m grateful to be able to stay healthy and have people around me to support me.”
Manager Aaron Boon said: “I’ll do it [juego] Immaculate grid, and it’s unbelievable how many people don’t have 200 strikeouts, and you think they will. He has a lot.”
Long before he was called out of the dugout for the final four innings, Higashioka said he was sitting next to special adviser Andy Pettitte in the tunnel between the dugout and the clubhouse. Both the oldest Yankee and the club legend at this point marveled at Cole’s performance.
“We were laughing,” Higashioka said. “When you throw certain pitches, they’re pretty venomous. We know they don’t stand much of a chance against him today with the arsenal he had. “It’s fun to watch.”
Considered one of the favorites to win his first career Cy Young Award after a couple of years as runner-up, Cole needs a strong finish in September to overtake Luis Castillo of the Mariners, Kevin Gassman of the Blue Jays and Sonny Gray of the Twins.
“Corbin was on his day today, and he’s one of the best pitchers in the world,” Cole said. “As another pitcher, you definitely respect that kind of work. It was a good pitch for 13 innings and a relatively fast game.