NEW YORK (AP) — JP Sears stretched his big league scoreless streak to 12 2/3 innings and won his second spot start, pitching the major league-leading New York Yankees over the worst-in-majors Oakland Athletics 2-1 Tuesday night for their 15th win in 19 games.
Wearing No. 92, the highest jersey number in Yankees history for a starting pitcher, Sears (3-0) limited the A's to three hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out one and walked one.
Josh Donaldson backed him with an RBI double in the first off trade candidate Frankie Montas (3-8), and Marwin Gonzalez homered in the second.
After two catcher's interference calls against Sean Murphy on Monday, Murphy reached on an interference call on Jose 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 singled to put runners at the corners and Elvis Andrus hit an RBI single off Clay Holmes that cut the lead to one. Holmes retired Tony Kemp on a groundout to strand two runners and get his 13th save in 14 chances.
New York improved to 55-20 and a season-high 35 games over .500, off to the majors' best 75-game start since the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
Oakland jettisoned many of its best players in March as part of an intended rebuild and dropped to 25-51 with its 31st loss in 41 games. The A's are hitting .210, on track to break the major league low of .211 set by the dead-ball era 1910 Chicago White Sox.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the eighth for arguing that plate umpire Stu Scheurwater was calling strikes on 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge that were below the zone.
Sears, an 11th-round draft pick by Seattle in 2017, was obtained after that season in a trade for right-hander Nick Rumbelow, whose last big league appearance was three years ago. Sears made it to Triple-A last season and has a 1.83 ERA this year at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The 26-year-old left-hander earned a spot on the Yankees' expanded opening day roster and made two one-inning appearances before he was sent down on April 18. Sears got his first major league start against Baltimore on May 25 after a rainout caused New York to reset its rotation. Before him, the highest number for a Yankees starting pitcher was Alfredo Aceves' No. 91.
New York brought Sears back to give Luis Severino, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Jordan Montgomery extra rest after a stretch of 13 games against division rivals Tampa Bay and Toronto along with AL West-leading Houston. The Yankees had been the only team in the majors not to have a sixth pitcher make multiple starts.
Throwing at up to 95.7 mph, Sears mixed fastballs, sliders and changeups among 78 pitches, nibbling at the corners while throwing 48 strikes.
Montas ended the Yankees' season-high 13-game winning streak last August. Last Thursday at Seattle, he didn't allow a hit until Adam Frazier singled on his 92nd pitch with two outs in the eighth. This time, Donaldson doubled on the 21st pitch from Montas and Gonzalez homered on his 38th, driving a sinker into the right-field seats.
Montas allowed four hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked two. He has a 3.20 ERA but Oakland has been shut out three times and scored one run six times in his 16 starts.
Stephen Piscotty was 0 for 3 as Oakland's designated hitter in his return from a strained left calf that had sidelined him since May 6.
Oakland rookie 2B Nick Allen hit leadoff for the first time in the major leagues and went 1 for 4. Allen is engaged to Savannah Boone, niece of the Yankees' manager and a daughter of former major leaguer Bret Boone. A wedding is scheduled for Nov. 23, 2023.
LHP Manny Bañuelos was designated for assignment by the Yankees to open a spot for Sears. Bañuelos had a 2.16 ERA in four relief appearances with New York, pitching in pinstripes 14 years after he signed with the organization and seven years after he was traded. "It's been a joy to be around him every day," Aaron Boone said. "We really think he can pitch."
Athletics: OF Jonah Bride was put on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday, a day after hurting his right shoulder and cutting his nose during a collision with Chad Pinder. Manager Mark Kotsay said Bride had an MRI on Tuesday.
Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres said his right wrist, which he hurt on a hard swing, was feeling better after a cortisone injection Monday. Torres hopes to play Wednesday, though Thursday might be more realistic. He said his sprained right ankle was good enough to play on. ... LHP Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre during his third rehab appearance and will be activated this week. On the IL because of left Achilles tendinitis, Chapman last pitched for the Yankees on May 22. ... RHP Domingo Germán, sidelined since spring training with right shoulder impingement, allowed two hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks for Double-A Somerset in his second rehab start.
Taillon (8-1, 3.19 ERA) starts Wednesday's series finale for New York after going 4-0 in his past seven starts. Oakland LHP Cole Irvin (2-5, 3.29) is 0-4 in seven starts since an IL stint caused by left shoulder soreness.
for more features.