MLB Roundup: Higashioka, Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Kyle Higashioka is not Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher but they will be paired together a lot.

Higashioka homered twice to support Cole, and the New York Yankees beat Toronto 3-1 on Monday night in the Blue Jays temporary home at their spring training ballpark.

Higashioka caught Cole for the second straight start — and win — after working with him during last year’s playoffs. Gary Sanchez, the Yankees’ No. 1 catcher, was behind the plate for Cole’s first start of the season, against the Blue Jays on opening day.

“Full time, no,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s going to catch him a lot. I like it because he usually lines up with wanting to give Gary a day [off]. But I also feel good about Gary catching him. So, there’s going to be games where Gary catches him”

Cole (2-0) allowed one run and three hits in six innings, struck out eight and walked one. The hard-throwing right-hander finished with a flurry by retiring his final 15 batters — striking out seven. With 29 strikeouts this season, he matched David Cone for the most by a Yankees pitcher through three starts.

“I think the most satisfying part was after a kind of rough first inning or two kind of calmed down and kept them to no runs after that,” Higashioka said. “A credit to Gerrit, he really locked it in. That was pretty cool.”

Cole has a 1.47 ERA. He has struck out at least seven in his last 12 regular-season starts, the longest such stretch in Yankees history.

Robbie Ray (0-1) didn’t allow a hit before Rougned Odor singled with one out in the fifth and Higashioka followed with a 416-foot opposite-field shot to right-center for a 2-1 lead.

“Everyone feels good about the way Ray pitched today,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Tigers 6, Astros 2

HOUSTON — Casey Mize tossed seven scoreless innings for his first career win and fellow rookie Akil Baddoo homered again, leading Detroit to the victory in manager A.J. Hinch‘s first trip to Houston since he was fired for the team’s sign-stealing scheme.

Renato Nunez and Grayson Greiner also homered as the Tigers jumped on Zack Greinke (1-1) for six runs to snap a four-game skid.

Hinch received a standing ovation when he was introduced before the game and the team played a tribute video to him on the big screen. As the last frame of the video displayed the words: “Thank you A.J.,” he stepped onto the field and tipped his cap to the crowd, which roared with approval.

Mize (1-0), the top overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, permitted four hits, struck out five and walked two.

Angels 10, Royals 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shohei Ohtani had three hits and three RBIs for the Angels, and Mike Trout hit a two-run homer.

Ohtani hit a two-run double off Scott Barlow in the seventh for a 6-3 lead. The ball came off the bat at 119 mph, the fifth-hardest-hit ball since 2015, according to Statcast.

Ohtani added an RBI double against Jake Newberry in the ninth.

Alex Cobb (1-0) struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings for Los Angeles. He allowed three runs and four hits.

Kansas City right-hander Brady Singer (0-2) permitted four runs — one earned — and seven hits in five innings.

Rays 1, Rangers 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tyler Glasnow struck out a career-high 14 in 7 2/3 innings and Willy Adames homered in the seventh, lifting Tampa Bay to the victory.

Glasnow (1-0) allowed two hits and walked one. Diego Castillo worked the ninth for his third save.

Adames homered off Taylor Hearn (0-1) with two outs in the seventh.

Glasnow improved to 6-0 over his last 11 regular-season games, and the AL champions have gone 10-1 in the those games.

Texas was shut out for the third time in four games.

White Sox 4, Indians 3

CHICAGO — First baseman Yu Chang hit Yasmani Grandal with a throw trying to force him at second base as Nick Madrigal raced home with the winning run for the White Sox in the ninth inning.

Adam Eaton homered in his second straight game and rookie Yerman Mercedes got the winning rally started with one out in the ninth when he singled to shortstop against Emmanuel Clase (1-1).

Grandal walked to put runners on first and second before Nick Williams sent a grounder toward Chang. His throw trying to get Grandal at second hit the runner in the head. The ball ricocheted toward the left side of the infield, and Madrigal — running for Mercedes — sped home.

Codi Heuer (1-0) struck out a career-high four over 2 1/3 innings, and Chicago stopped Cleveland’s four-game win streak.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Nationals 5, Cardinals 2

ST. LOUIS — Kyle Schwarber doubled in a run in his delayed Washington debut, Andrew Stevenson had a pinch-hit homer and the Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

Schwarber, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison were in the starting lineup after being sidelined for Washington’s first six games by a coronavirus outbreak that prompted the postponement of the team’s season-opening series and left the club short-handed. The Nats ended a five-game skid, while the Cardinals have lost three straight.

Stevenson hit his first homer of the season into St. Louis’ bullpen in right field to lead off the seventh, putting Washington ahead 4-2.

Kyle Finnegan (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win. Brad Hand got three outs for his first save.

Yadier Molina homered for St. Louis. John Gant (0-1) allowed three runs in five-plus innings.

Brewers 6, Cubs 3

MILWAUKEE — Pinch-hitter Luis Urias drove in three runs with a go-ahead double, part of a six-run sixth inning for the Brewers.

Freddy Peralta (2-0) struck out 10 over six innings of two-hit ball for the victory. Josh Hader got two outs for his first save of the season.

Milwaukee has won five of six, while Chicago lost for the fifth time in six games.

Padres 6, Pirates 2

PITTSBURGH — Yu Darvish pitched seven dominant innings, Wil Myers drove in five runs and San Diego earned its fourth straight win.

Darvish (1-0) permitted one run and three hits in a crisp performance. Myers hit a two-run homer off Luis Oviedo (0-1) in the sixth, putting San Diego in front to stay.

Phillip Evans had an RBI double for the Pirates and Trevor Cahill worked five effective innings but Pittsburgh’s modest two-game winning streak ended.

Marlins 5, Braves 3, 10 innings

ATLANTA — Garrett Cooper hit a tiebreaking single in the 10th inning and finished with three RBIs, leading Miami to the road win.

Brian Anderson tacked on an RBI double in the 10th. Yimi Garcia (1-1) got four outs for the win.

The teams were facing each other for the first time since Atlanta swept Miami in their NL Division Series last year.

Adam Duvall homered for the Marlins.

Ozzie Albies drove in two runs for Atlanta, and Ronald Acuna Jr. tripled and scored two runs. Jacob Webb (0-1) got the loss.

Reds 3, Giants 0

SAN FRANCISCO — Joey Votto splashed a home run into McCovey Cove, Jesse Winker hit a two-run homer, and the Reds beat the Giants.

Winker’s first home run of the year marked the first hit off Aaron Sanchez (0-1) in the third and provided Wade Miley (2-0) with some early support.

Cincinnati bounced back after losing two straight at Arizona following a six-game winning streak.

San Francisco had won four in a row.

INTERLEAGUE

Athletics 9, Diamondbacks 5

PHOENIX — Matt Chapman homered among his three hits, Jed Lowrie added two hits and three RBIs, and Oakland roughed up Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner.

Lowrie doubled home two runs in the third inning and singled and scored in a three-run fifth capped by Chapman’s second homer of the season for a 6-2 lead.

Bumgarner (0-2) gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. He has allowed 22 hits and 12 walks in 13 2/3 innings this year, his latest struggles since signing an $85 million, five-year contract with the Diamondbacks before last season.

Oakland has won four of five after starting 0-6. Chris Bassitt (1-2) yielded two hits and two runs in five innings.

Arizona third baseman Eduardo Escobar was hitless, ending his home run streak at four games.

By Paul Wager