You see, instead of bringing the ball that completed the inning of three strikeouts on nine pitches into the dugout to give to his pitcher as a keepsake, Higashioka actually tossed it into the stands to a fan. Higashioka’s teammates gave him the business, with a few thumbs downs and chants of “Shame!” thrown in.
However, it all worked out in the end, as Gerrit Cole was able to swap a ball from the Yankees’ dugout with the fan to get the immaculate inning ball to Cortes. It probably helped that the fan was rocking Yankees pinstripes.
“Higgy pointed out the guy who [caught] it, so thankfully, that guy gave it back,” Cortes said.
Cortes ended up striking out a career-high 12 over five-plus innings in his outing vs. the O’s. The Yankees lost, 5-0.