The New York Yankees offense only needed two runs, while JP Sears held the Oakland Athletics to just three hits in a 2-1 win on Tuesday night in the Bronx.
In just his second Major League start, Sears had an impressive outing for the Yankees that saw the lefty pitch 5.2 scoreless innings against the Athletics. Sears struck out one while throwing 48 of his 78 pitches for strikes.
“I think he just attacked the zone and got after it with his fastball,” Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake said after the game. “He was efficient that way, so didn’t have a lot of traffic on the bases. It allowed him to keep his pitch count in check to get through five into the sixth.”
The victory continued New York’s dominance at Yankee Stadium, where they are at the tail end of a seven-game homestand. The Yankees are 18-2 in their last 20 games in the Bronx and hold the best home record in baseball at 33-9.
Sears made pretty quick work of the Athletics’ hitters through his time on the mound. A Ramon Laureano walk was the only base runner he allowed on until a third-inning single by Sheldon Neuse.
New York’s defense was quickly able to eliminate the threat with catcher Jose Trevino picking off Neuse on first base.
The 26-year-old retired the side in order in the second and fifth innings. The win was Sears’ third since making his MLB debut on April 13 against the Toronto Blue Jays in a relief.
In four appearances this season, Sears has thrown 12.2 innings without giving up a single run and striking out eight batters he’s faced. Despite such strong numbers, he has had a hard time cracking the Yankees rotation after making the team out of spring training.
JP Sears this season (his first MLB season by the way):
• 12.2 IP
• 0.00 ERA
• 8 K’s
• 0.95 WHIP
• .178 BAA
No runs through your first 4 games as a major leaguer is.. pretty good.
— YankeesMuse (@YankeesMuse) June 29, 2022
“I would just say I’m going out there trying to compete and trying to have fun,” Sears said. “Really just do my best to help the team win whenever my name is called.”
Blake and Sears said that they weren’t sure what the plan was for the pitcher. The Yankees announced a little before 11:30 p.m. that Sears had been optioned back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sears said before the news was announced that the up and down nature of his role with the Yankees was nothing new.
“I’m just going out there trying to pitch every time I pitch,” Sears said. “The business of the baseball, they’ll do that and I’m just going to show up every time name is called. And I’m going to fill up the zone and do my best to compete out there.”
Similar to their start on Monday, the Yankees jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu walked to start the bottom half of the first and Josh Donaldson moved him to third on a two-out double to the left-field wall.
Jose Trevino hit an opposite-field single to score LeMahieu, but Donaldson got thrown out trying to reach home to end the inning. The Yankee catcher’s continued clutch at-bats have him hitting a .353 with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees built on their lead in the second inning when Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run 399 feet to right field to put the Bombers up by two. The solo shot was his third homer of the season.
The Athletics finally got on the board in the top of the ninth after the Yankees failed to get out of the inning. A catcher’s interference kept the inning alive and Elvis Andrus drove in a run to cut the Bombers’ lead to just one.
Holmes was able to get Tony Kemp to ground out to finally end the game.
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected from the game in the eighth inning after arguing balls and strikes on a low-called strike during an Aaron Judge at-bat. Boone was given a loud ovation by the home crowd as he made his way back to the dugout.
The Yankees will wrap up their homestand with an afternoon game against the A’s on Wednesday before they hit the road for a 10-game road trip.