With the aid of a controversial call in the ninth inning, Cleveland wrapped up its third straight victory and ninth in 10 games by rallying to turn back the Oakland A’s 4-3.
It was a tainted victory to be sure.
The A’s appeared to tie the game on a two-out Adam Rosales solo home run off Indians closer Chris Perez. But after umpires reviewed the play, they unbelievably upheld the call that gave Rosales a double.
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Television replays clearly showed the ball ricocheting off the railing well above the yellow home run line atop the wall in left-center.
“When it was hit, I was trying like (heck) to pull it back in,” manager Terry Francona said. “I thought it hit the padding because of the way it came back. We have the worst view. (The umpires) went and checked, so …”
Oakland manager Bob Melvin obviously didn’t see things the same way. He charged out of the dugout after the replay ruling and was ejected seconds into an argument with umpire Angel Hernandez.
“I’m at a loss, a complete loss,” Melvin said. “It was inconclusive to the only four people in the ballpark that could say that was inconclusive. Everybody else said it was a home run, including their announcers when I came in here later. I don’t get it. I don’t know what the explanation would be when everybody else in the ballpark knew it was a home run.
“If it hit the padding, it would have come straight down. But you can tell by the way it deflected that it hit the railing.”
Some Cleveland players requested that the volume be turned up on the clubhouse television during Melvin’s interview.
A review was Oakland’s final option to reverse the call. Thanks to a rule instituted along with replay in 2008, a club is not allowed to argue or file a protest after a review has been requested — no matter the outcome.
“Honestly, I saw it hit the yellow line and thought it was in play,” said Perez, who allowed Oakland to load the bases before recording his fifth save. “Obviously, I came back in here and saw something different. Off the bat I thought it was a homer.
“I’ve never been on this side of a replay before, but I’ve been on the side of a bad call before. It’s part of the game. It was a tough pill to swallow over there, but we’ll take it over here.”
Hernandez met with a pool reporter following the game, but refused to be recorded.
“It wasn’t evident on the TV we had it was a home run,” Hernandez said. “I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there is 100 percent evidence and there wasn’t 100 percent evidence.”
Despite having ace Justin Masterson on the mound, the Indians appeared destined for defeat.
They trailed 3-0 after Masterson allowed all of his runs in the fourth inning, while Oakland starter A.J. Griffin had surrendered just two hits. But the Indians scratched for two runs in the fifth inning, then forged ahead for good on solo homers from Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana in the sixth.
Masterson notched his fifth win of the year, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out seven over seven innings.
“He came out with an explosive fastball,” Francona said. “In the third and fourth innings, they were getting pretty aggressive. Once we clawed our way back in, he really dialed it back up.”
Things keep rolling for the Indians, who are three games above .500 for the first time this season.
“It’s been a little bit of everything,” Masterson said of Cleveland’s recent winning ways. “There’s been great defense, the bullpen’s been great, the rotation has done well and the guys are scoring runs. People are just picking up people.”
They had luck and a bad call on their side this time around.
“That’s how you win games sometimes,” Swisher said. “Things have absolutely been going our way.”
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Oakland
- TIME: 12:05
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Kazmir (1-1, 6.28 ERA) vs. Colon (3-1, 3.62)
- TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM