Adam Rosales thought he hit a game-tying home run. The Athletics, Indians and 14,000 or so fans thought so, too.
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There was a small group who differed: the umpires.
”Probably the only four people in the ballpark,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Rosales’ apparent homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Chris Perez was ruled a double by umpires – even after a video review – Wednesday night, giving Cleveland a 4-3 win over the Athletics, who left Progressive Field feeling robbed.
”Our whole team thought it was the wrong call,” Rosales said. ”The replays showed it hit the railing. With six eyes on it (three umpires), you would have thought they’d make the right call.”
With the Indians leading 4-3, Rosales sent a drive off Perez that appeared to clear the left-field wall by several feet and clanged off a metal railing. However, second-base umpire Angel Hernandez called it a double, and the crew concurred with the original ruling after three umpires left the field to review the videotape.
When the umpires returned and told Rosales to stay at second, Melvin sprinted onto the field and was immediately ejected by Hernandez.
”Everybody else said it was a home run, including their announcers when I came in here later,” a miffed Melvin said. ”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.”
”Clearly, it hit the railing. I’m at a loss, I’m at a complete loss,” Melvin added.
Perez initially thought the ball hit the yellow line above the 19-foot-high wall and dropped. But after watching a replay in the clubhouse, he was convinced the Indians got away with a win.
”Coming back in here, I saw different, ” Perez said. ”Off the bat, I thought it was a homer. It sounded like a homer. Luckily, the call went in our favor. I don’t think I’ve ever been on the other side of a replay like that.
”It’s part of the game and we’ll definitely take it,” Perez said
Hernandez told a pool reporter there was not enough clear proof to overturn the original call.
”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.”
Perez wound up loading the bases before getting the final out as the Indians won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana homered for Cleveland, which improved to 12-4 since April 20.
Following the game, a few Indians players scrambled to find a remote so they could turn up the TV volume and hear Melvin’s comments.
”If it hit the pad, it would have just hit the pad and come down softly,” Melvin said. ”Clearly there was a ricochet.”
Under Major League Baseball rules, once the replay is requested and the review is made, the call stands.
Before the umpires returned to the field, Perez seemed resigned that he had blown the lead. Indians manager Terry Francona, too, checked his scorecard perhaps thinking about some moves he might have to make because the game was now tied.
As the umpires emerged from watching the video, Rosales leaned off the bag at second ready to resume his home run trot. He never got started.
With the umpires satisfied they got the call correct, the A’s were forced to try to tie it another way.
They nearly did as Perez hit Eric Sogard and John Jason walked after a nine-pitch to load the bases. But Perez got Seth Smith to hit a comebacker and ran the ball to first base and stepped on the bag to end the controversial ninth.
”Wet ground, the way the game had been going, I made sure he (Smith) wasn’t gaining on me,” Perez said, smiling. ”It’s a lot easier to go over there myself.”
Before the dramatic finish, the Indians trailed 3-0 until scoring twice in the fifth and getting the homers from Swisher and Santana off A.J. Griffin (3-3) in the sixth.
Justin Masterson (5-2) allowed three runs in seven innings and got his second career win over Oakland.
Cleveland is 12-4 since April 20 and three games over .500 for the first time this season. The Indians will try to sweep the four-game series on Thursday.
The aching A’s fell to 6-13 against the AL Central and East. They are 13-3 inside their own division. Oakland has seven players on the disabled list, including three outfielders.
Down 3-2 in the sixth, Swisher and Santana connected off Griffin and the Indians held on to improve to 7-1 on this homestand. About the only thing that isn’t climbing for Cleveland is the attendance. The Indians are averaging just 14,411 fans per game – last in the majors.
With one out in the sixth, Swisher launched his fourth homer into the right field seats. He was still slapping hands with some teammates, when one out later, Santana ripped his seventh homer over the center-field wall, a shot that had the excitable Swisher doing a little dance in Cleveland’s dugout.
It was the 10th time this season that Cleveland, which leads the AL with 46 homers, has hit two homers in one inning.
Masterson continued Cleveland’s run of stellar starting pitching. In the last nine games, Indians starters are 8-1 with a 2.64 ERA.
NOTES: The Indians will re-evaluate OF Michael Bourn’s status following his game with Triple-A Columbus. Bourn has been on the disabled list since April 15 after slicing open his right index finger and needing stitches. He could be activated for this weekend’s series in Detroit. ”We’ll do whatever is in his best interest,” Francona said. … Melvin believes RHP Jarrod Parker is on track to make his next start Saturday despite a chronic sore neck. He left Monday’s start after five innings – and giving up four homers. ”It’s something he’s worked through before and my guess is he’ll work through it again,” Melvin said. … A’s LHP Brett Anderson (sprained ankle) threw a bullpen session that Melvin said went well. Anderson will go on a rehab assignment before he’s activated. … The A’s released LHP Jordan Noberto to make room on the 40-man roster for Barton.