A’s Fall Victim To Indians’ Homers, Questionable Umpiring


May 7, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (left) argues with umpire Paul Nauert (39) in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A hard fought game between the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland Athletics ended up getting overshadowed by a blown call, and the Tribe defeated the A’s by a score of 4-3 on a controversial ruling that won’t be forgotten by Athletics fans anytime soon.

The head-scratching decision came in the top of the ninth, when a series full of questionable umpiring culminated in a missed call on a two-out, game tying home run from Adam Rosales that was ruled a double. In real time, the ball did appear to bounce off the top of the wall in left field, but replays clearly showed that the ball had bounced straight down off of a railing in the stands.

Bob Melvin was shocked when the umpires came back from reviewing the play and made their ruling, and he immediately ran out to argue it. It didn’t take long for him to vent his frustrations, and he was ejected with Eric Sogard coming up to bat. Sogard reached base after getting hit by a pitch, and John Jaso drew a walk, but Seth Smith grounded out to end the game, and the Oakland dugout stood dumbfounded, staring down the umpiring crew as they walked off the field.

The decision will surely be reviewed by Major League Baseball officials, although there’s really no procedure for overturning an incorrect decision days after the fact, especially on a call that only would have tied the game.

As for the contest itself, the A’s would strike first, leading off the fourth inning with consecutive singles. After Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a force out at second, Brandon Moss came to the plate with runners at first and third and brought home Smith on a ground ball to right field. Daric Barton added two more on a grounder up the middle to score Cespedes and Moss, both having advanced on a wild pitch from Justin Masterson in the previous at-bat, and the A’s had a 3-0 lead.

Cleveland responded in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of two walks to start the inning by A.J. Griffin to bring the Indians within one run. Lonnie Chisenhall loaded the bases when he hit a soft blooper off of a broken bat — which Griffin couldn’t catch on a diving effort and caused Josh Donaldson to slip trying to make a play towards first. They nearly got out of the inning unscathed after Donaldson made a nice play throwing home from the third base line to get the first out at home, and they would’ve turned a 4-6-3 double play in the next at-bat, but Rosales bounced the ball in front of Barton on the turn, and the first basemen couldn’t contain it, allowing two runs to score to make it 3-2.

Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana each had solo home runs off of Griffin in the bottom of the sixth to give the Indians a 4-3 lead, and the two fading fastballs that went deep off of Oakland’s young right-hander ended up deciding the game. Griffin finished the day with four strikeouts and two walks, with three earned runs on six hits.

The A’s really would’ve liked to have had a chance to win this game, but instead they’ll go into tomorrow’s series finale trying to avoid a sweep. Bartolo Colon will be on the mound for Oakland against southpaw Scott Kazmir for the Indians. Game time is 9:05 AM PST.