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Kyle Higashioka’s two homers lift the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays

Apr 12, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays infielder Bo Bichette (11) heads for third base in the first inning against the New York Yankees at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Higashioka hit two home runs and drove in three runs, Gerrit Cole struck out eight and the visiting New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Monday night at Dunedin, Fla.

Higashioka’s first two homers of the season give the catcher five in his career against the Blue Jays. The other three came in a single game, last Sept. 16.

Cole (2-0) allowed one run, three hits and one walk in six innings. He retired the final 15 batters he faced in the opener of a three-game series.

Aroldis Chapman pitched around a leadoff double by Randal Grichuk in the ninth inning to earn his first save of the season. He struck out the final two batters.

Robbie Ray (0-1) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. The left-hander struck out three in his first start of the season.

The Blue Jays scored a run in the first inning. Singles by Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put runners at the corners with one out. Guerrero moved to second on a wild pitch before Grichuk’s groundout to shortstop scored Bichette.

Cole allowed a walk and a single to his first two batters in the second before striking out the next three batters.

Ray did not allow a hit until Rougned Odor hit a one-out single in the fifth. Higashioka followed with a homer to right-center that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

Rafael Dolis replaced Ray in the sixth and pitched around a walk. He retired the first two batters in the seventh before being replaced by Ryan Borucki.

Justin Wilson took over from Cole and pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh.

Higashioka hit his second homer to left-center to lead off the eighth against Borucki.

Darren O’Day allowed a two-out single to Marcus Semien in the eighth to end a 0-for-20 run by Toronto hitters. Bichette walked, but Guerrero struck out.

Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks did not play in response to the shooting of Daunte Wright, 20, by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Sunday.

–Field Level Media