Indians edge Athletics 4-3 on controversial call


CLEVELAND — An apparent game-tying homer by Oakland’s Adam Rosales was ruled a double by umpires in the ninth inning, and the Cleveland Indians held on to beat the Athletics 4-3 today.

Rosales sent a drive off Indians closer Chris Perez that looked as if it cleared the left-field wall. However, second base umpire Angel Hernandez called it a double, and the crew concurred with the original ruling after leaving the field to review the videotape.

When the umpires returned and told Rosales to stay at second, A’s manager Bob Melvin sprinted onto the field and was immediately ejected.

TV replays appeared to show the ball cleared the yellow stripe and hit a metal railing above the 19-foot high wall.

Perez wound up loading the bases before getting the final out as the Indians won for the ninth time in 10 games.

Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana homered for Cleveland.

Before the umpires returned to the field, Perez seemed resigned that he had blown the lead. Indians manager Terry Francona, too, checked his scorecard perhaps thinking about some moves he might have to make because the game was now tied.

But the umpires’ seemed satisfied they got the call correct, and the A’s were forced to try to tie it another way.

They nearly did as Perez hit Eric Sogard and John Jason walked after a nine-pitch to load the bases. But Perez got Seth Smith to hit a comebacker and ran the ball to first base and stepped on the bag to end the controversial ninth.

Before the dramatic finish, the Indians trailed 3-0 until scoring twice in the fifth and then getting the homers from Swisher and Santana off A.J. Griffin (3-3) in the sixth.

Justin Masterson (5-2) allowed three runs in seven innings and got his second career win over Oakland.

Cleveland is 12-4 since April 20 and three games over .500 for the first time this season. The Indians will try to sweep the four-game series on Thursday.

The aching A’s fell to 6-13 against the AL Central and East. They are 13-3 inside their own division. Oakland has seven players on the disabled list, including three outfielders.

Down 3-2 in the sixth, Swisher and Santana connected off Griffin and the Indians held on to improve to 7-1 on this homestand. About the only thing that isn’t climbing for Cleveland is the attendance. The Indians are averaging just 14,411 fans per game — last in the majors.

With one out in the sixth, Swisher launched his fourth homer into the right field seats. He was still slapping hands with some teammates, when one out later, Santana ripped his seventh homer over the center-field wall, a shot that had the excitable Swisher doing a little dance in Cleveland’s dugout.

It was the 10th time this season that Cleveland, which leads the AL with 46 homers, has hit two homers in one inning.

Masterson lost his previous three starts against Oakland and came in 1-5 with a 8.10 ERA versus the A’s in 10 appearances. However, the right-hander was overpowering in cruising through the first three innings, striking out four and holding the A’s — the majors’ top-scoring team — without a hit.

Oakland, though, got to Masterson for three runs in the fourth with Brandon Moss driving in one run and Daric Barton, recalled earlier in the day, delivering a two-out, two-run single. The A’s were shut out 1-0 on Tuesday, when they didn’t get a runner to second base against Zach McAllister and two relievers.

Masterson continued Cleveland’s run of stellar starting pitching. In the last nine games, Indians starters are 8-1 with a 2.64 ERA.

NOTES: The Indians will re-evaluate OF Michael Bourn’s status following his game with Triple-A Columbus. Bourn has been on the disabled list since April 15 after slicing open his right index finger and needing stitches. He could be activated for this weekend’s series in Detroit. “We’ll do whatever is in his best interest,” Francona said. ... Melvin believes RHP Jarrod Parker is on track to make his next start Saturday despite a chronic sore neck. He left Monday’s start after five innings — and giving up four homers. “It’s something he’s worked through before and my guess is he’ll work through it again,” Melvin said. ... A’s LHP Brett Anderson (sprained ankle) threw a bullpen session that Melvin said went well. Anderson will go on a rehab assignment before he’s activated. ... The A’s released LHP Jordan Noberto to make room on the 40-man roster for Barton.