Even if the Yankees fly higher than they have in any season since 1998, the average pessimistic fan could be forgiven for their uneasy thoughts about Tuesday night’s scheduled matchup. New York would start with JP Sears, a pitcher who has spent most of his time in the minor leagues, and they would have to deal with Oakland’s Frankie Montas — perhaps the only All-Star on the A.
Though Montas passed Sears by some action, the Yankees were able to strike out two runs early and held on to Clay Holmes for the 2-1 win during a ninth-inning rally. A play about Sean Murphy and Catcher’s Interference also played an outsized role again. Baseball!
The Yankees didn’t wait to get on the board today. DJ LeMahieu started with a walk, though Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo both hit (Judge, on another low spot that should have been a ball). Josh Donaldson picked her up with a double while LeMahieu moved up to third place. Five-hole hitter Jose Trevino followed up with a single to the right and DJ scored. Donaldson oddly attempted to score even with a ball that was not deep and was a mile away, ending the inning.
It’s just not wise to challenge Ramón Laureano’s arm with a slow runner in Donaldson.
After Sears’ clean first two innings, Hicks started the bottom half with a walk, though he was wiped out by a nicely twisted double-play ball from Isiah Kiner-Falefa. That meant the bases were empty as Marwin Gonzalez hit a long home run to the right for a 2-0 lead.
The A’s got their first hit in the third with an infield single from Sheldon Neuse, but Trevino snapped to Rizzo to knock him out in a close game:
Trevino just keeps being a great all-star case. Get your vote if you haven’t already!
Montas secured his first scoreless inning in the third by beating Judge and Rizzo. He and Sears continued to trade scoreless and fast innings through the fourth and fifth. The Yankees southpaw was helped by Trevino, who threw out Christian Bethancourt, who was trying to steal the second to finish the fourth.
Again, I think Trevino should probably be an all-star?
The Yankees put a runner in scoring position with an out in the bottom quarter of the fifth after an IKF single and a stolen base, but Joey Gallo hit on a ball way wide – shocker — and LeMahieu lined up to hold the Yankees on two runs.
Sears got two outs in the sixth – one of which was a nice dive by Donaldson in Foul Territory – before allowing Nick Allen a booming double and being replaced by Ron Marinaccio, who closed the frame with a Laureano strikeout. Sears was great, going 5.2 innings without a score, three goals allowed, one walk and one strikeout. He has yet to concede a 12.2-inning run in his short MLB career.
With his pitch count nearing 100, Montas still got to pitch sixth, and he sent the Yankees off quickly, including his third strikeout from Judge.
Wandy Peralta lined up for the Yankees in the top of the seventh. He walked to Bethancourt, hardly what you want to see in a close game. Murphy got in Gonzalez’s way and Peralta was able to beat Stephen Piscotty. That put Michael King in play, and the right-hander promptly knocked out a confused Elvis Andrus to end the inning.
Montas was drawn to start the seventh. His line wasn’t bad at all — six innings served, four hits, two runs earned, two walks and seven strikeouts. He would be accused of an unfortunate loss, which is nothing new for him in this last-place team.
King got into trouble in eighth. He knocked out pinch hitter Tony Kemp to start and then went to Neuse. Seth Brown, who pinched Cristian Pache, grabbed an infield hit to give Allen the go-ahead for the plate run. Luckily, he rebounded LeMahieu with a double ball and kept the A’s off the board.
The A’s turned to Sam Selman at the end of the eighth when we saw our first fireworks display in a couple of innings — but not with the bats. Gonzalez hit an infield single, followed by another Gallo strikeout and a LeMahieu lineout. With Judge at bat, home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater called another apparent ball a strike. Manager Aaron Boone, who was caught on numerous occasions yelling at Scheurwater on YES network cameras, became even more angry and was kicked out of the game, drawing a huge cheer from the crowd.
The judge flew right to end the inning, but at least the ejection was fun.
With the safe situation, Clay Holmes entered the ninth and did Clay Holmes things to start it and got two strikeouts. It looked like he tricked Murphy into stopping the game, and “New York, New York” even started playing over the speakers at Yankee Stadium. But in a lucky turn yesterday, his racquet clipped Trevino’s glove and he received first base for the catcher’s interference.
Murphy stole second base, and then pinch hitter Stephen Vogt kept the game alive with a broken bat single in right field. Andrus laced up a tough single in midfield, cutting New York’s lead to 2-1. With a second-place runner (amusingly James Kaprielian, former Yankees minor-league pitcher) and sudden stressful things, the undeterred Holmes prompted a groundout by Tony Kemp, eventually ended the game and secured another series win for New York.
The Yankees are now 55-20, good for a .733 win ratio and 35 games over .500 for the first time in 2022. They will be aiming for a clean win over the A’s with Jameson Taillon tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 ET over Cole Irvin.