Sept. 16-- NEW YORK-DJ LeMahieu had already smashed two home runs Wednesday before the Toronto Blue Jays had collected one hit.
Through five innings, a dazzling Gerrit Cole displayed the kind of stuff that would have had a large Yankee Stadium crowd buzzing about a possible no-hitter.
And the latest pinstriped homer parade-including three by backup catcher Kyle Higashioka-would have brought them to their feet, on a night when Aaron Judge would have been wildly cheered just for his presence back in the lineup.
Oh, and the "M-V-P" chants would have resumed for Luke Voit, whose third homer in two days-his 19th of the season-added to his MLB lead in that category.
In total, the Yankees' 13-2 victory was a time to re-imagine how deep an October run this club could make if they keep firing this way.
"The team's playing with a lot of confidence," manager Aaron Boone had said after Tuesday's 20-6 win against Toronto.
"I know we're capable of amazing things and hopefully we're going to find that out."
That team-wide confidence was at a season low just over a week ago, as the Yankees limped into Buffalo and lost two straight to the Blue Jays.
At that point, Boone was captain of a .500 club with a fingernail grip on the eighth and final AL postseason spot, having dropped 15 of their previous 20 games.
Now, the Yankees (28-21) are riding a seven-game winning streak and they're trying to rally enough to grab a No. 4 playoff seed.
That would allow the Yanks to host a best-of-three first round playoff series before MLB heads to neutral site bubbles beginning with the Division Series.
But the band is regrouping at the right time.
Judge (0 for 4, three strikeouts) arrived back a day after Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela made their returns from the injured list.
A combination of power pitching and power hitting carried the day.
While Cole had eight strikeouts and limited Toronto (26-22) to just one run on three hits through seven innings, the Yankees blasted seven home runs-making for a total of 13 in two games against Toronto pitching.
LeMahieu started it with his fifth leadoff homer of the season, the first of his two homers off Toronto starter Tanner Roark, who gave up four homers in four innings.
Higashioka's third homer of the night, his fourth of the year, capped a five-RBI night in the seventh.
It was the first three-homer game by a Yankee since Gary Sanchez did it on April 7, 2019.
In his only other at-bat, the No. 9 hitting Higashioka flied out to the left field warning track.
LeMahieu (3 for 3, walk) added a double in his follow-up to a four-hit Tuesday night and Clint Frazier homered for a second straight night.
And it was part of the announcement that the battery of Cole and Higashioka was beyond being an item; they're going steady.
This was the third consecutive Cole-Higashioka pairing, and their previous tandem produced a seven-inning, 6-0 win against Baltimore last Friday.
The way Boone reasoned it, Cole has a good relationship with both Higashioka and Sanchez behind the plate.
However, "I do like getting Higgy in there at least once or twice through the rotation," Boone said, while mentioning their recent success.
Also, with Sanchez's yearlong struggle at the plate, the idea of getting him some at-bats as a designated hitter-as he did Wednesday-serves to try "to get Gary going," Boone said.
"It could be fluid moving forward, but I have no issue with either guy" catching Cole, said Boone, whose mind might be permanently changed after Wednesday's game.
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