Royals vs. replay officials: Controversial call costs KC against Tribe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The ball appeared to nestle gently into Eric Hosmer’s glove, a white sphere peeking through spaces in blue leather, before Jose Ramirez’s right foot stomped on first base.

Hosmer thought so. Ned Yost thought so. Alcides Escobar thought so. New York’s replay officials did not.

"For me, as far as feel, I got him out 100 percent," Hosmer said.

"I was shocked when they called him safe," Yost said. "I don’t know what they’re looking at."

"For me, that’s out," Escobar said. "Everybody can see on the scoreboard."

In the eighth inning of Kansas City’s 2-1 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night, a video review upheld the call on the field that Ramirez was safe, negating a would-be double play and leading to the go-ahead run in the Indians’ one-run victory.

On the fourth pitch of an at-bat against Wade Davis, Ramirez tagged a ball to second at Omar Infante, who scooped it to Escobar covering second base, forcing out Michael Bourn. Escobar swiftly eluded Bourn’s takeout slide and fired a strike to Hosmer at first.

Hosmer received the ball to his right, with his left leg extended back to the bag on first base. He felt the ball hit his palm. He felt Ramirez’s foot thud the base. There was no doubt in his mind.

"As a first baseman, most of the times you can kind of feel it — the ball hit the glove and then the foot with the bag," Hosmer said. "Sometimes, you really can’t tell. That was definitely one where I felt it and thought he was out 100 percent."

Yost challenged the call on the field, feeling confident his video team was correct. The scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium replayed the action over and over again. It slowed down the play. It paused it.

Yost saw the replay in front of him on the 8,736-square-foot video board. It was a done deal.

"You look at the replay from the one they showed on the board and it looked like obviously he was out," Yost said, "but they must’ve had a different angle in New York that they would deem it be inconclusive. I don’t know."

Instead of bases empty with two outs, the Royals had only one out and Ramirez rested at first base. Jason Kipnis followed Ramirez with another groundball to second. This one Infante bobbled. His only play was to second base, allowing Kipnis to reach safely at first.

Davis walked Carlos Santana on six pitches and faced Michael Brantley with two on and two out. Brantley engaged the previously perfect Davis in an epic clash. He fouled off four Davis offerings, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat smoked a single to center field.

The single plated Kipnis and marked the first run Davis had allowed all season. The right-hander had thrown 20 innings without surrendering a run, but Brantley’s single sullied the clean record — with a little help from an upheld call.

Yost said the call was probably the most surprised he’s been since replay was introduced in 2014.

"There’s been a couple of times, though, this year where I thought that we had a chance to win a reversal and haven’t," Yost said. "Last year, I never felt like that. Every time we were on it, boom, the call was exactly the way we saw it."

The call overshadowed another lackluster offensive performance from Kansas City, which has now lost six of its last seven games. The Royals have scored 15 total runs in that stretch and have tallied just one run on five occasions.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.