The A's got the first win of veteran Paul Blackburn's season and first save of Sam Moll's career in a 2-1 triumph in the opener of the three-game series on Tuesday.
The A's acquired Sears (1-5, 4.10 ERA) and two other pitchers currently on their staff -- Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk -- when they dealt Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino to the Yankees at the trade deadline last season
Sears got a head-to-head with his former team less than a month into his A's career and came up on the short end of a 3-2 home decision, allowing three runs in six innings. Aaron Judge accounted for all three runs with a fifth-inning home run, his 49th of the season.
Judge sat out a rematch in New York in May, and watched Oswaldo Cabrera, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu all go deep against Sears in a 7-2 Yankees win. Sears again took the loss, dropping him to 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in two career starts against his former employer
Sears has gone seven innings in each of his past two starts, but lost both by the same 6-1 score to the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Guardians despite allowing a combined total of just six runs and eight hits. He struck out 15 in those 14 innings.
"This kid keeps continually going out there and improving," A's manager Mark Kotsay said. "Continuing to do things to help this team win on the mound. He's made the adjustment to the league and he's thriving right now."
Sears won't have to worry about Judge this time around, with the star scheduled to miss his 20th straight game with a toe injury.
The Yankees batted Harrison Bader in Judge's No. 2 slot in the lineup Tuesday, while starting Jake Bauers in his spot in right field. They combined to go 1-for-7 with a single
While the Yankees have no idea when Judge might be back, manager Bob Boone shared a possible timeframe for starting pitcher Carlos Rodon to return from a strained left elbow and back stiffness
Rodon passed a minor-league test Sunday at Double-A Somerset and is scheduled to make one more rehab start this weekend, which would open the door for him to make his Yankees debut next week
"He's gonna go Saturday, which'll be a six-day (rest), then that would line him up potentially for the Friday for us at home, which would be the sixth day," Boone said of a July 7 matchup with the Chicago Cubs. "And then potentially the first game out of the break (July 14), which would be seven days. So we keep it as regular as we can."
Meanwhile, right-hander Domingo German (4-5, 5.10) is scheduled to get the ball Wednesday in Oakland.
He is seeking to rebound from consecutive disastrous efforts, having been torched for 17 runs (15 earned) in just 5 1/3 innings combined in 15-5 and 10-2 losses to the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, respectively. German allowed five home runs amid getting those 16 outs.
The veteran will be making his sixth career start against the A's. He's gone 0-1 with a 4.94 ERA in six previous head-to-heads, including one in relief.
--Field Level Media