Bronx, NY—In front of 38,051 yelling fans at Yankee Stadium, JP Sears subdued the Oakland Athletics for a 2-1 win on Tuesday night in the Bronx.
In just his second MLB start, Sears was flawless for the Bronx Bombers–he pitched 5.2 scoreless innings against the A’s. Sears struck out one while throwing 48 of his 78 pitches for strikes. Throwing at up to 95.7 mph, Sears mixed fastballs, sliders, and changeups kept the Athletics at bay.
With the win, the Bombers are now 55-20 to start off the season, the best record in the majors. The Yankees just find different ways to push runs across the diamond each night.
The crafty left hander retired the side in order in the second and in the fifth. The win was Sears’ third since making his major league debut on April 13 against the Toronto Blue Jays in a relief appearance.
The Yankees jumped out 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 Bombers 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.
New York continue to dominate in the Bronx, where they are at the end of a seven-game homestand. The Bombers are 18-2 in their last 20 games at Yankee Stadium and hold the best home record in baseball at 33-9.
Sears made easy work of the Athletics’ hitters through his time on the hill. 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 leaning on first base.
In four appearances this season, Sears has thrown 12.2 innings without giving up a run and striking out eight batters he’s faced. Despite his stats, he has had a hard time cracking the Yankees rotation after making the team out of spring training.
After the win, Sears then was optioned back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he has 1.83 ERA this year at Scranton.
Sears was a 11th-round draft pick by the Mariners in 2017, he was obtained after that season in a trade for right-hander Nick Rumbelow. When the 2020 minor league season was canceled because of the pandemic, Sears tried to refine his throwing motion with Daniel Moskos, then the pitching coach at the Yankees’ Class A affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina, and former teammates James Reeves and Asher Wojciechowski.
The Yankees brought Sears back up to give Luis Severino, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery extra rest. The Bombers had been the only club in the majors not to have a sixth pitcher make multiple starts this season.
“There’s kind of an expectation that they have within themselves that you can’t manufacture,” manager Aaron Boone said. “JP’s a really nice kid, an understated smart kid, but he’s tough. He’s got an edge to him and he expects to do that when he goes out there.”
Clay Holmes came in and pitched the ninth to finish a six-hitter for his 13th save. After two catcher’s interference calls against Sean Murphy on Monday, Murphy reached on an interference call on Trevino with two outs in the ninth on a grounder to second that caused the public-address system to play the game-ending “New York, New York.”
Pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt and Elvis Andrus singled, driving in a run, and Tony Kemp grounded out to strand two runners to end the game.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was thrown out of 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 past the dugout.
The Bombers 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.