CLEVELAND -- The Indians became overwhelming supporters of instant replay on Wednesday night. A controversial ruling in the ninth inning went their way, and there was not a single person inside the clubhouse arguing the umpires' decision.
After all, the umpiring crew had examined replays.
"It's not for me to disagree or agree with a call," starter Justin Masterson said with a smile. "When an umpire makes a call, that's what the call is."
There was a lot of grinning inside the Indians' locker room following their 4-3 victory over the A's, the ninth win in the past 10 games for the surging Tribe. It was hard to blame the players for enjoying the moment, because right or wrong -- and video footage of the play in question appeared to contradict the ruling on the field -- it sure felt like the Tribe got away with one at Progressive Field.
With two outs in the ninth, Oakland shortstop Adam Rosales pulled a pitch from closer Chris Perez deep to left field; the baseball bounced high off the wall and fell back to the outfield grass. Rosales was awarded a double, but A's manager Bob Melvin -- from his vantage point in the visitors' dugout on the first-base side of the field -- disagreed, and headed onto the field to argue.
After hearing out Melvin, the umpires retreated to a video room to break down the footage.
Perez initially agreed with the ruling that called the hit a double.
"Obviously, coming back in here, I saw different," Perez said. "Off the bat, I thought it was a homer. 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.'"
But when the umpires charged with reviewing the play returned to the field, second-base ump Angel Hernandez pointed to Rosales at second base, confirming the original ruling. The crowd erupted in cheers, and an infuriated Melvin ran from the dugout to argue with Hernandez. He was swiftly ejected.
Television replays appeared to show the baseball bouncing off the railing above the yellow line atop the left-field wall. Following the game, players inside the Indians' clubhouse turned up the volume on a television to hear Melvin's reaction.
"A homer is a homer, even if it's an inch," Melvin said, "and that was clearly farther than that. If it hit the pad, it would have just hit the pad and come down softly. Clearly, there was a ricochet."
"With six eyes on it, you think they could get the right call," Rosales said.
Hernandez explained his ruling to a pool reporter.
"It wasn't evident on the TV we had [that] 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."
Who were the Indians to argue?
"Luckily, the call came in our favor," Perez said. "I don't think I've ever been on the other side of a replay like that, but I've definitely been on the other side of bad calls and missed strikes and stuff like that. It's part of the game. We'll definitely take it."
The win was the third in a row for the Indians (17-14), who eked out two runs on a fielder's-choice groundout (combined with a throwing error by Rosales) on a chopper from Michael Brantley in the fifth inning, then received solo home runs from Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana in the sixth. Santana's shot -- his seventh on the year -- pushed the Indians to a one-run advantage.
All of the Tribe's production came against righty A.J. Griffin, who bowed out after 6 2/3 innings.
That proved sufficient for supporting a solid effort from Masterson, who limited the A's (18-17) to three runs -- all coming within a span of four singles in the fourth -- on four hits over seven innings. The big sinkerballer ended the evening with seven strikeouts and two walks before turning the game over to the bullpen.
"[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."
As for that double by Rosales in the ninth inning, Francona said that he hadn't seen a replay prior to his sit-down with reporters.
Asked what he would do if he saw replays that went against the ruling, he smirked.
"I'm sure as heck not going back out there," he quipped.
Francona thought the baseball hit the wall at first.
"I thought it hit the padding because of the way it came back," he said. "We have probably the worst view just about of anybody."
Even after the umpires confirmed their ruling, the inning was far from over.
Perez hit Eric Sogard with a pitch, then issued a two-out walk to John Jaso to load the bases. Seth Smith followed by chopping a pitch back to Perez, who gloved the grounder and ran it himself to first base. He was not taking any chances with the final out.
"Luckily, the call came in, and I was able to get that last out," Perez said. "I just feel bad for the umpire. Melvin came out livid afterwards, but they reviewed it. You can't argue a review. They went and looked, and they made their decision.
"It's a tough pill to swallow over there, but we'll take it all day over here."