Indians 4, A’s 3: Its Better To Be Lucky Than Good

Bob MelvinWhen this series with Oakland began, I wrote that umpire Angel Hernandez was arguably the second worst umpire in the game behind C.C. Bucknor. Tonight, the crew chief was at second base. Three nights ago he did the Tribe a favor when he didn’t toss Oakland starter Jarrod Parker for throwing at the head of Mark Reynolds after giving up two homers earlier in the inning. If he had, we would have been robbed of the Reynolds revenge blast in the 7-3 Indians win. Last night, Hernandez may have topped himself.

I always like to begin my recaps start to finish, but in this case, I have to make an exception.

With the Indians nursing a 4-3 lead with two outs in the ninth inning, closer Chris Perez looked like he was on the verge of closing out another win. The usually light-hitting Adam Rosales took a 1-1 Perez pitch deep to left center, which looked to hit high off the wall for a double. At closer glance, it was thought to bounce off the railing above the yellow line on the high wall in left. Hernandez was the closest umpire to the action. A conference of the umpires was called after A’s manager Bob Melvin came out to argue that the ball should be ruled a home run.

“Off the bat, I thought it was a homer,” said Perez. “He hit it pretty good. It sounded like a homer. But then it came down, and I thought we had some life. They went and reviewed it. The longer [the review] went, the more I thought, ‘All right. They’re going to say it’s a homer.'”

The initial Sportstime Ohio replays were far away and you really could not tell where the ball hit. The final replay was a digitally enhanced zoom, which clearly showed the ball hit the railing. Everyone watching on TV or in the press box could see it was a home run and the game should have been tied. After three minutes, the umpires emerged from their replay hole and told Rosales to stay at second. The ruling on the field stood. Tribe radio play by play man Tom Hamilton said it best: “Angel Hernandez got it wrong and that’s not really a surprise.”

Said Rosales after the game: “You saw it. Everybody saw it. I think everybody thought it was a home run except for the umpires.”

Melvin came rushing out of the dugout and was ejected. MLB rules state that once a decision is made final, a manager can no longer argue or else they are subject to immediate ejection. Melvin got screwed and he knew it, so he had to get his money’s worth.

“Inconclusive,” said Melvin when asked about the missed call that went against his team. “to only the four people in the ballpark that could say its inconclusive. Everybody else said it was a home run, including their announcers when I came in here (the clubhouse) later. I don’t get it.”

He went on.

“I went in and looked at it later, CLEARLY it hit the railing behind…I’m at a loss, completely. ”

MLB rarely makes its umpires available to the media after the game, but Hernandez spoke to a pool reporter after the game.

“It wasn’t evident on the TV we had it was a home run. 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.”

Look, these are the breaks our teams never seem to get. So why not take advantage of it and enjoy? Perez still had to get one more out and seemed a tad flustered. He hit Eric Sogard with a pitch and then walked John Jaso to load the bases. It came down to Seth Smith. Perez jumped ahead with a strike before getting Smith on a comebacker to end the game. CP breathed a huge sigh of relief as he finished off the 4-3 win and his fifth save, his second in as many nights.

The story of the night started off as a solid pitchers duel between the Tribe’s Justin Masterson and Oakland’s A.J. Griffin. Both put up zeroes for the first three innings, with Masterson striking out four while not allowing a hit. But in the fourth, the A’s singled four times and with the help of a Masterson wild pitch, scored three runs. It was almost as if the first three innings were the equivalent of Masterson’s first three starts where he was close to perfect, and then in the fourth, he turned into the guy who was lit up in his next four starts for 18 runs in 25 innings.

However, the fourth inning turned out to be Masterson’s blip, as he manned up and put it all behind him. Over the next three innings, the Big Nasty stifled the A’s. He blew through the order without allowing a hit, the only base runner coming on a two out, fifth inning walk to Jed Lowrie. He would finish with seven strikeouts. Justin settling down allowed the offense to make their move.

“Masterson came out with a really explosive fastball,” manager Terry Francona said. “In the third and fourth innings, he fell behind in the count, and they were getting pretty aggressive in fastball counts. To his credit, they squared up some balls, but they were all down. A single to left. A single up the middle. A base hit to right. They were all singles.

“And then, once we clawed our way back in, he really dialed it way back in.”

In the fifth, they had a huge chance to get back into the game. Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn led off the frame with walks. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall had Griffin shatter his bat but legged out an infield single to load the bases. Unfortunately, Drew Stubbs ground ball to third forced Santana at home for the key first out. Griffin looked as if he would get out of this jam unscathed as Michael Brantley hit a double play ball to Sogard at second. He flipped it to Rosales at second who fired to first to get the speedy Brantley, except his throw was short and in the dirt. An out-stretched Daric Barton couldn’t make the scoop and the ball got past first base. Raburn and Chisenhall both scored unearned, gift runs that changed the course of the game.

The offense had knocked on Griffin’s door in the fifth, but in the sixth, they would kick it in like they were Charles Ramsey. With one out, Nick Swisher tied the game with a solo shot. Not only did Swish do the “O-H” as he touched home plate, but as the in-house DJ played “Apache,” the Tribe’s class clown did the Apache dance in the dugout. The entire sequence was epic. Two batters later, Carlos Santana put the Tribe on top for the first time with a solo blast of his own. It was Santana’s seventh homer of the season. Swisher and Santana’s pair of bombs were the 10th time this season the Indians have hit two in the same inning. In 2012, they did it only nine times!

Somewhere in Bristol, Connecticut, ESPN’s Manny Acta was shaking his head.

With Vinnie Pestano on the DL, Joe Smith is manning the eighth inning for Francona. He danced around a Smith leadoff single to keep the A’s off the board, setting the stage for Perez in the ninth. Little did we know how this one would end up turning out. But, as a wise man once said, “sometimes its better to be lucky than good.”

The Indians now head into tomorrow afternoon’s series finale looking for a four-game sweep. They have won nine of ten and 12 of 16. The 12:05 affair will feature left-hander Scott Kazmir (1-1, 6.28 ERA) looking for his third straight strong outing for the Tribe. He will meet up with former Indian ace, the ageless Bartolo Colon (3-1, 3.62 ERA).

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)



  • boomhauertjs

    I’m glad the Tribe got that one because it seems like they always lose these afternoon weekday games.

  • ToxicToast

    It’s sad that guys like Bucknor, Hernandez, and Joe West can continue to directly influence game outcomes like this. I’m sure if someone from New York or Boston had a similar hit it would be ruled a homer in the first place.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is so true… I get all excited about being able to listen to the game while I’m at work, then the Tribe’s starting pitcher gets touched up for 5 runs in the first inning. It seems like it happens every time.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    It feels nice to be on the other side of one of these blown calls for once.

  • JeBron_Lames

    *It’s not Its in the headline, sorry Grammar Nazi.

    Although Pure Rage got out of the jam, he has a nasty habit of allowing more baserunners once one reaches.

    And as for the call itself, talk about a home field advantage.

  • Harv 21

    right, as soon as I check in on our starter has already put us in a 5-0 hole every time. Or so it seems.

  • Harv 21

    Chris Perez is one of the league’s best closers. Chris Perez is one of the league’s best closers.

    [Hugs self in chair, pulls lamp chain on, pulls lamp chain off, on, off, on, off …]

  • mgbode

    no doubt. I’m hoping we are just all tinged from last year’s “Acta Getaway Days sponsored by Southwest”

    seriously, it’s like he was auditioning for those SW commercials with some of those lineups:

    Brent Lillibridge your cleanup hitter? Need to get-away? (as video shows him swinging high at a ball in the dirt).

  • mgbode

    national media getting all rankled over something that wouldn’t even have had the possibility of being corrected just a couple years ago (w/o replay). yes, they should have gotten it right. no, they didn’t. but, it’s baseball, things go your way sometimes and not your way others. it was a terrible blown call in our favor, so let’s just pass go and collect our $200.

    as for those (nat’l media) suggesting that MLB ‘corrects’ the call and play starts from that spot, that is just absolutely ludicrous. with such a precedent, does that mean a blown call on the 1st batter needs to have the whole game replayed? a HR in the 1st inning could have just as much effect (or more) on a game than a HR in the 9th. that’s just silly talk.

  • mgbode

    Kimbrel has given up 3 HR in his last 3 outings. It happens.

    (and Perez is probably around #10-15 as far as “best” closers – At least we’re not Detroit!!!)

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Haha, that’s fantastic. And annoyingly true.

  • It must have been a full moon or something for the umpires last night because there were several significant gaffes all over the league.

    With that said. I’ll take it but that was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in my life, especially after an official review. Wow.

  • JK

    There’s absolutely no way they’ll restart the game there.

  • JK

    …….actually I forgot we root for Cleveland, it could happen.

  • Mike E

    “The offense had knocked on Griffin’s door in the fifth, but in the sixth, they would kick it in like they were Charles Ramsey.”


  • mgbode

    yeah, it’s been done in Cleveland before where they wiped away play on the field to reverse a call.

    (and that is the only incident that I know of it happening in any sport)

  • Steve

    No getaway lineup today. Only Santana is sitting.

    I am worried about Kazmir though. The A’s lineup is very patient, and especially so against LHP.

  • Steve

    Yeah, this is the usual histrionics we now regularly see in the twitter age. Pay no attention.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You’d all be up in arms if it had been the reverse gimmie a break Oakland got hosed! It’s been a bad week for umpires but alot of the mess centers around many of the same guys. Perhaps it’s time for MLB and the umpires association to have a meeting.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hernandez has been questionable for years it should come as no surprise he was involved in this incident.

  • mgbode

    great news on the lineup. yes, the A`s lineup is patient and potent. We’ve held them relatively in check as well. Hopefully, we can squeeze one more quality start out of the series.

  • MSkog

    Perez is killing my liver. He’s clearly to blame for my cirrhosis.

  • Steve

    Sure, I’d be upset, and the national media would be in just as much of a tizzy.

    I’m only saying that in today’s age where we can hear any and every analyst, both professional and amateur, in an instant, and guys like Rovell saying that Nike sweatshops are a-okay is seemingly par for the course, there’s no reason to worry what the national media thinks.

  • Steve

    Or apparently some other guy(s?) who wasn’t as interested in doing interviews.

  • Harv 21

    I’m rankled by it, too, for the sake of the game. It’s like they belatedly imitate other sports by using technology, but there’s still no cure for stupid and they aren’t interested in trying to cure it with consequences. Seems everyone top to bottom complains about Hernandez. But he’s still there, a decade in, and the worst that will happen to him is no all-star or playoff game compensation. All personnel on the field, including umps, should be held accountable and face a realistic possibility of demotion for incompetence. It’s a very difficult job but this is the bigs, only for the best of the best.

  • Harv 21

    So fat old Bartolo has the nerve to roll out of bed and be hitting 94 MPH on the radar? That’s right, sic’em boys. Send him scurrying to re-order from the anti-aging clinic.

    Hope they KO him early. Maybe the most aesthetically unpleasing players. Makes me wanna find a non-high def screen.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    So, then the opposite happened. Wuh?

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I don’t think even incompetence can explain this one. I have to assume this is gambling related.

  • Harv 21

    Heard there’s a new baseball sitcom in development: “Everybody Hates Angel Hernandez.”

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Baseball sequel to Jim Carey / Jeff Daniels movie: “Dumb and Angel Hernandez”

  • Harv 21