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There are games big-league players never forget no matter how long they play.

Kyle Higashioka had one of them Wednesday night, when the career backup catcher, who was dropped from the Yankees’ 40-man roster five years ago and brought back a dozen days later, slugged three home runs and led the Yankees to a 13-2 pounding of the Blue Jays in The Bronx.

Catching Gerrit Cole for the third straight game, Higashioka hit a two-run homer in the third inning, flied to the warning track in the fourth, hit a bases-empty homer in the sixth and a two-run homer in the seventh.

“I think at this point, the way he is swinging I might be his personal pitcher,’’ Cole said of Higashioka, who was a teammate of Cole on the Southern California summer circuit as teenagers.

The Yankees tied a season high with a seventh straight win that followed a 20-6 flogging of the Blue Jays on Tuesday night when they hit six homers. They topped that by one Wednesday.

In addition to Higashioka’s power show, DJ LeMahieu hit two homers and Clint Frazier and Luke Voit added one each. Voit leads the majors in home runs with 19.

Higashioka started the night with seven big-league homers in 178 at-bats and is considered a defense-first catcher with some pop if pitchers miss on the inner half.

Kyle Higashioka celebrates with Tyler Wade (14) after hitting one of his three homers in the Yankees’ 13-2 win over the Jays.Robert Sabo

“He is an elite receiver, I mean he has amazing hands behind the plate,’’ Aaron Boone said of the 30-year-old Higashioka, who was a seventh-round pick of the Yankees in the 2008 draft. “And he has power at the plate. There is the power potential that is in there and you saw it manifest itself tonight.’’

Higashioka’s first three big-league hits were homers, but the first one stopped a trying indoctrination to the majors, so hitting three Wednesday night topped the first three.

“I think it might be number one. The first three came after an 0-for-22 and they were three hits over 12 at-bats,’’ said Higashioka, who didn’t miss by much joining Lou Gehrig as the only Yankee to hit four homers in a game when he flied out to the warning track in left in the fourth inning.

Overshadowed by Higashioka’s muscle was Cole’s second solid outing in which he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. He is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA and posted his 100th career victory.

The win pushed the Yankees to within three lengths of the AL East-leading Rays. The three-game deficit is actually four since the Rays won the season series against the Yankees and hold the tiebreaker.

With 11 games remaining, the Yankees hold a 1 ½-game advantage over the Blue Jays in the race for second place, which brings an automatic bid to the postseason tournament.

Higashioka became the 23rd player to hit three or more homers in a regular-season game in Yankee history. Among the members of that fraternity Higashioka joined are Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez.

“What a performance. He’s got that kind of power. I think he did a great job being aggressive with the fastball. Pitches he was fouling off the other day he didn’t miss them,’’ Boone said. “Great job behind the plate and a night at the plate he will remember forever.’’

And reinforced something every player knows.

“It is kind of crazy how baseball works sometimes,’’ said Higashioka, who started the night hitting .188 (6-for-32). “One minute you can’t hit the ball to save your life and the next game you play you pop three over the fence. It’s kind of crazy but hopefully as a team we keep swinging the bats well.’’

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Four-time All-Star Hunter Pence announces retirement after 14-year career

Be very careful in the middle of the street: People have driven into protests 104 times this summer The best cheap burger in every state Four-time All-Star Hunter Pence announces retirement after 14-year career

Longtime big league outfielder Hunter Pence announced he’s retiring from baseball. This brings to an end a 14-year career spent with four teams, but he’ll surely be remembered most for his time with the Giants.

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports After 14 years in the league, Hunter Pence has announced his retirement from baseball.

Pence originally broke into pro ball in 2004, selected by the Astros in the second round out of the University of Texas-Arlington. Notably “awkward and unorthodox” as a prospect, in the words of Baseball America, Pence nevertheless played himself into top-prospect status by 2007. He broke into the big leagues with a bang, hitting .322/.360/.539 en route to a third place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that season. Pence continually produced over his time in Houston, earning his first two All-Star nods there, before the struggling Astros shipped him off to the Phillies at the 2011 trade deadline for four prospects.

He continued to perform well in Philadelphia, hitting .289/.357/.486 over parts of two seasons, but the Phillies lost in the NLDS in 2011 and were en route to a playoff miss in 2012. Pence again headlined a deadline deal, this one sending him to San Francisco. His midseason acquirer fared better the second time around, as the Giants erased a pair of big playoff deficits against the Reds and Cardinals before sweeping the Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

Set to reach free agency after the 2013 season, Pence instead re-upped with the Giants that September. Already a highly productive and popular player, that extension set the stage for Pence to become permanently identified with the San Francisco organization. He combined for a .280/.335/.464 line between 2013-14, garnering down ballot MVP support each year. He was perhaps even more instrumental in the Giants’ 2014 World Series run than he’d been in 2012, going 12-27 with a home run in San Francisco’s seven-game triumph over the Royals.

Of course, it wasn’t simply Pence’s productivity that made him so revered, both among diehard Giants’ loyalists and many baseball fans generally. He played with an endearing energy and exuberance. Coupled with his oft-awkward hitting mechanics and general lack of gracefulness on the diamond, Pence brought something of an everyman feel to the sport that resonated with outside observers, teammates and coaches.

Unfortunately, that high-energy style of play caught up to him in his 30s. After 2014, Pence once again only managed to exceed 110 games in a season. He continued to produce when healthy up through 2016, but he seemingly hit a wall thereafter. Pence struggled through a pair of poor years with the 2017-18 Giants, seemingly ending his time with the organization (and putting his career in jeopardy).

Forced to settle for a minor league deal with his hometown Rangers entering 2019, Pence remade his swing at age 36. He rebounded to post a .297/.358/.552 line over 316 plate appearances in Texas last year, picking up his fourth and final All-Star trip in the process. That also inspired the Giants to offer a major league deal last winter, setting the stage for a tremendous return story.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. Pence got off to an abysmal start and was released after just 56 plate appearances. That’ll mark his last work in the big leagues, but it’s fitting that his final games came in the orange and black.

All told, Pence will hang up the spikes with a .279/.334/.461 line over 7,006 plate appearances, good for a 115 wRC+. He hit 244 home runs, 324 doubles and 55 triples, while stealing 120 bases. Pence was worth around 31 wins above replacement, in the estimation of both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. He’s obviously most notable for being an integral part of two World Series winners in San Francisco and for the infectious joy he spread to teammates and fans alike. MLBTR congratulates Pence on a stellar career and wishes him the best in retirement.

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Full screen 1/31 SLIDES © Bettmann/Getty Images Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise? Has the home run been diminished by the fact the ball seems to fly out of the park these days? Perhaps a little, but we still love the long ball. We know who has the greatest home run seasons in MLB history, but every franchise has a single-season record for homers as well. That’s just math. Who is the slugger with the most dingers in a year for every team? Here they are, in alphabetical order based on team city. 2/31 SLIDES © Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez 2001 was a magical year for the Diamondbacks. Not only did they win the World Series over the Yankees, but Gonzalez also had a career season. Shockingly, the 33-year-old hit 57 homers after never hitting more than 31 in any of his other campaigns. Of course since this was 2001, some are skeptical in hindsight. We’re not here to pass judgment. 3/31 SLIDES © Brian Bahr/Getty Images Atlanta Braves: Andruw Jones Jones should be a Hall of Famer. He made his MLB debut as a teenager and quickly became the best center fielder in baseball. Eventually he would bulk up a bit and become a slugger as well. Jones hit 51 homers in 2005. When you can do that one year and win a Gold Glove the next, you should be knocking on the door of Cooperstown. 4/31 SLIDES © Will Newton/Getty Images Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis How quickly things can change. In 2013, Davis hit 53 homers to lead the majors. He did it again with 47 in 2015. Now? He’s arguably the worst hitter in baseball. Davis batted a combined .172 between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and even set a record for consecutive at-bats without a hit. Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/31 SLIDES © Ron Vesely/MLB via Getty Images Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz There’s a reason Big Papi is loved in Boston. After the Twins gave up on him, the Red Sox picked up Ortiz, and he turned himself into maybe the best designated hitter in baseball history (give or take an Edgar Martinez). His peak came in 2006 when he hit 54 homers to lead the American League. Unsurprisingly, he also led the league in RBI that year. 6/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa Oh, to put up 66 homers in a season and be an afterthought. That’s what happened to Sosa in 1998. Only two men have ever hit more home runs than Sosa in a year, but one of those guys did it the same year the Cubs slugger hit his 66 jacks. Well, at least he still has the single-season record for a storied franchise. 7/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Chicago White Sox: Albert Belle We get to the first team without a 50-homer season in its history. Pick up the slack, White Sox! Funnily enough, it was also 1998 when Belle set the "other" Chicago team’s franchise record. He couldn’t quite hit 66 homers though, settling for “only” 49. 8/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Cincinnati Reds: George Foster Who? You may not recognize the name, on account of the fact he isn’t a particularly famous player and also because he retired in 1986. It was in 1977 that Foster not only hit 52 home runs but also won the NL MVP. Alas, he was overshadowed by a few of his teammates on Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine. 9/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Cleveland Indians: Jim Thome Thome had a reputation for being “country strong.” Maybe that’s because he wasn’t cut or muscular but instead seemed like a big slab of man. Despite not being the pinnacle of fitness, you can’t deny the power in Thome’s bat. He racked up a ton of homers in his career, including 52 in 2002. Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/31 SLIDES © Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker and Todd Helton Yes, we have a tie in Colorado. In fact, it’s the only tie among MLB’s 30 franchises. Walker hit 49 homers in 1997. Helton did it in 2001. Yes, despite the thin air at Coors Field, no Rockie has a 50-homer season. 11/31 SLIDES © Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images Detroit Tigers: Hank Greenberg We’re kicking it old-school here! Greenberg was a slugger at a time when guys who could mash the ball were few and far between. The Hall of Famer had a somewhat brief career, as he missed three seasons for military service. However, he still managed to lead the American League in homers four times, including in 1938 when he hit a whopping 58. That’s a ton even now. 12/31 SLIDES © Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Houston Astros: Jeff Bagwell Apparently sign stealing didn’t help any Astros set a new franchise record for homers. Instead, famed Houston slugger Bagwell, forever remembered for his funky stance, has held the record since way back in 2000. He hit 47 dingers in the heyday of the “Killer B’s.” 13/31 SLIDES © Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler Soler was considered one of the best prospects in baseball out of Cuba, but he couldn't stay healthy with the Cubs. Prior to 2019, he had never played more than 101 games in a season. In 2019, he played a full 162 game season and hit 48 homers. 14/31 SLIDES © Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images Los Angeles Angels: Troy Glaus Nope, it’s not Mike Trout. It isn’t even Vlad Guerrero. Instead, it’s the largely forgotten Glaus who has the record for the Angels. In 2000 Glaus smacked 47 homers for Anaheim. Given the era, some may view that with skepticism. Well we have news for you. A lot of these records were set between 1998 and 2002. Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/31 SLIDES © Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images Los Angeles Dodgers: Shawn Green So many great players have worn Dodger blue, but it’s Green who hit more homers in a season than any of them. Not that Green was a slouch as a player. He had a solid career, but he made only two All-Star Games. Weirdly that doesn’t include 2001 when he set a Dodgers record with 49 homers. 16/31 SLIDES © Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton So many great players have spent parts of their careers in Miami, but they all end up moving on. Stanton is one of them. He hit 59 homers in 2017 and won the NL MVP. That offseason he was traded to the Yankees. And they wonder why there are attendance problems in Miami. 17/31 SLIDES © Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder His father, Cecil, was quite the slugger, but Prince may have been even better at his peak. In only his second full season in the league, 2007, Fielder hit 50 homers, which ended up being a personal best. Unfortunately injuries ended Prince’s career early, as he last played in the majors when he was only 32. 18/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport via Getty Images Minnesota Twins: Harmon Killebrew The Twins set a new record for most home runs as a team in 2019, but no individual player hit more than Killebrew. The man rumored to be the source of the silhouette in the MLB logo was a tremendous slugger, leading the AL in homers six times. He hit 49 home runs twice in his career, so he in a way is tied with himself for the record in Minnesota. Killebrew did it the first time in 1964 and then again in 1969. 19/31 SLIDES © Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports New York Mets: Pete Alonso You know in what season this happened. After all, Alonso was a rookie in 2019. Yes, he stepped into the majors and immediately hit 53 homers. Naturally, he won Rookie of the Year. He hit more homers than any other rookie in baseball history. Of course he did. 20/31 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images New York Yankees: Roger Maris While Maris’ 61 homers have been passed a few times now, his 1961 season is still the stuff of legend. For years, Babe Ruth, a fellow Yankee, had the record with 60 homers. Then, Maris bested it to set a new major league record. Since he played in more games, though, some wanted to put an asterisk on Maris’ 61 homers. Then there are those who still say he has the record, but we aren’t going to debate. 21/31 SLIDES © MLB via Getty Images Oakland Athletics: Jimmie Foxx This is the oldest season on the list. In fact, it was so long ago the Athletics were still in Philadelphia. Foxx was one of the original true sluggers in baseball. When he hit 58 homers for the A’s in 1932, it was almost unheard of at the time. Heck, it’s still almost unheard of. 22/31 SLIDES © Scott Kane/Getty Images Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard From Philly’s old team to the current one. Howard’s one skill was slugging, but he could do that with aplomb at his peak. He was certainly at the prime of his powers in 2006 when he hit a whopping 58 dingers. Yes, that’s the same number Foxx hit in the same city over 70 years prior. Maybe it’s a Philadelphia thing. 23/31 SLIDES © Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images Pittsburgh Pirates: Ralph Kiner Kiner made the Hall of Fame despite playing in only 10 seasons. He got a lot of bang for his buck though. Kiner led the National League in home runs seven straight seasons to start his career. That includes the 1949 campaign when he went yard 54 times. 24/31 SLIDES © Otto Greule Jr./Allsport San Diego Padres: Greg Vaughn This was before the Padres moved to the spacious confines of Petco Park, which has suppressed homers quite a bit. Vaughn is one of the lesser-known names on this list, as he bounced around the majors and never led the league in homers. Vaughn did hit 50 homers in 1998, though. Of course, that year he wasn’t close to sniffing the lead in the NL. 25/31 SLIDES © Doug Pensinger/Allsport Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. There are complicated feelings about Alex Rodriguez, and maybe even Randy Johnson, in Seattle. That doesn’t feel like it’s the case with Griffey. The Kid made himself a star in Seattle before heading to Cincinnati where his father played. Griffey hit 56 homers in back-to-back campaigns, first in 1997 and then again in 1998. That first year he also led the majors in RBI, which helped him win his only MVP. 26/31 SLIDES © Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds Remember this guy? We’re sure you do. Bonds is one of the most polarizing players ever, and to some, he’s the face of the steroid era. Say what you will, but the man was an incredible hitter. In addition to having the most career home runs in MLB history, he also had the best individual season ever. In 2001, he hit a staggering 73 homers. Nobody is ever going to do that again. 27/31 SLIDES © Bill Stover/MLB Photos via Getty Images St. Louis Cardinals: Mark McGwire That 1998 season? The one where Greg Vaughn hit 50 and Sammy Sosa hit 66? In the end, that year belonged to Big Mac. He and Sosa were racing to beat Maris’ record. They both did it, but in the end McGwire got the upper hand. He was the first player to ever hit 70 home runs in a season and one of only two guys to do it. 28/31 SLIDES © Mike Stobe/Getty Images Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena The Rays and the Diamondbacks are the two most recent teams to join the majors. Arizona has that one crazy season from Luis Gonzalez. Tampa doesn’t have that. Pena set the franchise mark in 2007 with 46 homers. That’s tied with the fewest homers to be a team record. 29/31 SLIDES © Brian Bahr/Getty Images Texas Rangers: Alex Rodriguez Rodriguez got a lot of guff when he left the Mariners to join the Rangers. Signing a truly insane contract didn’t help. People wanted him to fail. He didn’t win a ring in Texas, but you can’t blame Rodriguez for that. A-Rod won the MVP in his final season with the Rangers, but it’s the year before, 2002, when he hit 57 homers. 30/31 SLIDES © Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista It took a while for Bautista to get his career going. Heading into 2010, he had 59 home runs in his career. Joey Bats was 29 and seemed like a journeyman. Then suddenly, he exploded for 54 homers. It wasn’t a total fluke either, and more a sign of him being a late bloomer. Bautista made six All-Star Games in a row and added two more 40-homer seasons in his career. 31/31 SLIDES © Mitchell Layton/Getty Images Washington Nationals: Alfonso Soriano This includes when the Nationals were known as the Expos, but evidently none of Montreal’s sluggers ever hit that many homers. After all, Soriano’s record, which he set in 2006, is only 46. That means he is the guy tied with Pena for the most meager home run record. How long will the record be safe? Well, now that Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon are gone, it may be a bit safer. 31/31 SLIDES

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