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MLB Final Score/Recap: Cleveland Indians beat Oakland Athletics 4-3, Angel Hernandez with the save

Here I was ready to talk about Justin Masterson and Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana, and then we entered the Twilight Zone.

Bob Melvin, arguing with Angel Hernandez in the ninth inning.
Bob Melvin, arguing with Angel Hernandez in the ninth inning.
Jason Miller

May 8, 2013

Indians 4, Athletics 3

Chapter 31: In the arms of Angel

(full recap has been added)

So the Indians were up in the ninth inning 4-3. Chris Perez looked locked it, at one point throwing 10 straight strikes. But then he left a pitch up and Adam Rosales hit it over the 19-foot wall in left field....

Or so we (as in everyone watching the game) thought. But Angel Hernandez didn't think it was a home run, ruling that it hit the top of the wall and came back into the field of play.

OK, so Angel Hernandez screwed up a call (what else is new?) We have the technology in place to review this; once the umpires see the play in 1080P SuperHiDef, they'll quickly realize that it should have ruled a home run, and the Indians will start thinking about winning the game in the bottom of the ninth. That's what everyone thought.

But then 30 seconds passed, and many more seconds after that. Then minutes passed, and you started to wonder what was going on. Did the Indians not pay the cable bill? Did the umpires pick up the wrong remote? But they were in the dugout for a stranger reason than that; somehow they couldn't determine that the ball had actually gone over the fence, hit the railing, and bounced back into the field of play.

(Video link)

Thanks to USSChoo, a closeup and outline of the path of the ball:



So they did not reverse themselves, and Bob Melvin appropriately went beserk. He was summarily ejected; perhaps in between all the expletives he let loose Melvin attempted to explain to the umpire that they were playing the game under protest, but regardless, Adam Rosales was still at second base and Chris Perez still had an opportunity to save the game. And after some small difficulty, he did just that.

So the Indians won the game, though it feels very hollow. I know we can recite all the times calls have gone against the Indians, but as a baseball fan it feels wrong to really celebrate this. I know, me and my stupid conscience.

And now, our regularly scheduled recap...

Justin Masterson had a really odd outing. For six of his seven innings, he was unhittable, but in the fourth, he suddenly became mediocre, or at least his defense did. Two sharp singles just past infielders started the inning, and after Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a force, Masterson uncorked a wild pitch (or, more accurately, he and Carlos Santana got crossed up). Then Brandon Moss rapped a line-drive single, plating two runners and giving Oakland a 2-0 lead. Then Masterson hit Adam Rosales. Then Daric Barton and his Duck Dynasty beard, drove a single up the middle to to score another run.

After that inning, you'd figure that Oakland had figured Masterson out, and that he'd be out of the game shortly. But when Justin came out for the fifth. he was the pitcher from innings 1-3. And he pitched three more innings, getting the game into the eighth inning.

Meanwhile the Indians had a 3-0 deficit to overcome. They got two of the runs back thanks another Oakland defensive miscue. With the bases loaded and one out, Michael Brantley hit a grounder to second base; the runner was forced at second, but the relay skipped by first baseman Barton when he tried to make a difficult stretch catch rather than just getting in front of it, as Brantley was going to beat it out anyway. Two runs scored on the play, and the Indians were back in the game.

The wind had been blowing in from right all evening, probably stopping a couple of long flies from going over the fence. But in the sixth, two hitters beat the wind. The first to do so was Nick Swisher, who pounded the ball into the teeth of the wind and over the right field wall to tie the game. Then Carlos Santana crushed a ball over the fence in right-center to give the Indians the lead.

That set up the Indians bullpen. Joe Smith pitched a flawless eighth, and Chris Perez pitched perfect two-thirds of an inning before the events above happened. Had Rosales' hit been ruled a home run, the game likely would have been tied, and the Indians would have batted in the bottom of the ninth with an opportunity to win the game on a walkoff hit, but thanks to the umpires, they didn't have to do that.

Anyway, assuming Bud Selig doesn't step in, the Indians will be going for the sweep tomorrow, with LGFT (and former Cy Young winner) Bartolo Colon on the mound for the A's.

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call (44 Commenters)

Game Thread (729 Comments)

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