NEW YORK: The Indians’ offense short-circuited again (ignore the score), Justin Masterson pitched well, and the Tribe lost 6-4 to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
All of that is just unfortunate detail. So let’s get to the interesting stuff, like a foul ball that is ruled an out by the umpire yet magically appears in the hands of a fan.
It happened in the seventh inning, with the Indians already trailing 4-0. Michael Brantley was on first with two outs, and Jack Hannahan at the plate.
Hannahan lifted a short fly down the left-field line. Dewayne Wise gave chase, leaped into the grandstand, tumbling atop a fan or two. Umpire Mike DiMuro raised his right hand. Inning over.
But should it have been? A replay clearly showed that Wise never caught the ball, and he admitted as much after the game. A fan tried to sneak it back into his glove, but Wise ran off the field as fast as he could.
An easy play for an umpire to miss? Sure, but there was a kind of fail-safe request that the umpire failed to exercise.
Once Hannahan saw the replay between innings, he asked DiMuro why he didn’t ask Wise to hold up his glove with the ball inside.
“I’ve never seen an umpire not ask to see that ball,” Hannahan said. “I was shocked that he didn’t ask. I can live with the fact he didn’t see the catch.”
Hannahan said it didn’t take DiMuro long to take offense.
“I just wanted to ask his view of the play,” Hannahan said. “I asked why he didn’t ask to see the ball, and he threw me out. It was an early hook; I didn’t swear at him or anything.”
DiMuro explained what he saw and then offered a mea culpa.
“I went out on the ball and saw the ball into his glove in the stands,” DiMuro said. “He disappeared into the stands and I believed that the ball was in his glove.”
DiMuro conceded he did not ask to see the ball in his glove.
“No, I believed the ball was in his glove when he came out of the stands,” he said.
DiMuro also saw the replay.
“Now that I see the tape, it’s obvious that the ball fell out of his glove,” he said. “In hindsight, I should have asked him to show me the ball since he fell into the stands and out of my line of vision.”
DiMuro’s reason for tossing Hannahan: “He and I got into a discussion about the play.
‘‘He told me to reference the tape replay and that is why I ejected him.”
Manager Manny Acta, like everyone else involved except for Wise, didn’t know what happened in the grandstand.
“That’s a play where you don’t know what happens until you see the replay, so no one could argue that,” he said.
“We’ve seen a few of them, and it’s probably going to be taken care of if they do expand replay. By the time you find out, it’s too late.
“We knew because they didn’t show it on the board. It’s a great play, so how come you’re not showing it for the fans. We were discussing that with the umpires, but what can he do?”
As Masterson said after viewing the replay: “I saw it. They showed it 15 or 20 times. I do not believe the ball was caught, but I do know there was a happy fan in a red shirt with a ball.”
It goes without saying that the Tribe offense was derelict, despite four meaningless ninth-inning runs. The Yankees scored four runs off of Masterson only because they were able to aim balls to precise spots on the field, or so it seemed.
He allowed seven hits, the only one struck with authority being Nick Swisher’s line-drive single in the fifth, which did not figure in the scoring.
Otherwise, the Yankees’ attack was more like a game of pitch and putt played by a couple of grandmothers just learning the sport of golf.
The second inning was Masterson’s undoing. He gave up three runs on four hits and a walk, the most lethal hit being a soft single to left by Curtis Granderson that scored Wise and Chris Stewart from third and second.
Among the other lethal hits was a single that bounced off Masterson’s glove and an RBI single by Stewart on a line drive near third base. Hannahan dived across the line for the ball; it struck his glove but bounded away for a surprise hit, given the skill with which Hannahan plays third.
Hannahan said that DiMuro also missed the fact that the ball was foul.
“I could see where I slid,” he said. “But a play that happens that quick, I can live with.”
Replays were inconclusive as to whether the liner was fair or foul.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.