Indians' protest denied by MLB

Indians' protest denied by MLB

CLEVELAND -- Indians general manager Mark Shapiro understands the Commissioner's Office had a tough decision to make regarding Saturday's protested game against the Orioles.

Ultimately, however, Shapiro and the rest of the Indians feel the league made the wrong decision.

"I still feel," Shapiro said, "we have a strong, solid, well-presented case."

It's a case Major League Baseball rejected Wednesday afternoon. MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy denied the Tribe's protest from that game, and the Orioles' bizarre, 7-4 victory over the Indians was upheld.

The Indians had protested the umpiring crew's ability to add a run to the scoreboard three innings after it crossed the plate. But a little-known clause in the rule book apparently gives the umpire's that power.

In a memo from the league office explaining DuPuy's decision, Rule 9.01(c) is cited.

"The Official Baseball Rules do not address when the umpires can make such a correction in those circumstances," the memo read. "When the rules do not address a situation, Official Baseball Rule 9.01(c) gives them the discretion to rule on any point not otherwise covered by the Rules."

Shapiro jokingly referred to the rule as an "escape hatch."

Here's how the umpires found themselves using that hatch Saturday night:

In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the score tied at 2, crew chief Ed Montague instructed the official scorer to add a run to the Orioles' tally, making it 3-2.

The run had come in the top of the third inning. The Orioles were up, 2-1, with one out and runners on the corners. Ramon Hernandez hit a line drive to center field that was caught by Grady Sizemore, who then threw to first base, doubling up Miguel Tejada. But while Sizemore lobbed the ball to first, Nick Markakis tagged up at third and scored before Tejada was ruled out. Thus, Markakis' run should have counted, but it was waved off by home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson.

Baltimore didn't argue the call until after the third, when bench coach Tom Trebelhorn talked it over with Montague. The rule book was summoned, and the umpires had several conversations with both dugouts before Montague finally ruled the run should be tacked on in the sixth.

Indians manager Eric Wedge immediately told Montague the Indians would play the remainder of the game in protest. The Indians took a 4-3 lead on Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer in the sixth, but they eventually lost the game, 7-4.

Once an official protest was filed Sunday, the Indians were hoping MLB would accept it and have the game replayed this weekend in Baltimore -- either from the third inning, with the run intact, or the sixth inning, with the run nullified.

Instead, the game stands as a Cleveland loss.

Wedge opted not to offer much comment on the league's ruling, saying only, "Obviously, I disagree with their decision."

Shapiro, meanwhile, said he's concerned about the precedent the decision might create.

"It was going to be problematic, either way they ruled," he said.

As part of the protest, the Indians' front office sent video evidence and documentation to the league office. Shapiro also placed a call to Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's senior vice president of baseball operations, on Wednesday morning to ensure the league didn't need anything else from the club.

"There's no way to appeal this any further," Shapiro said. "It's time to put it to bed."

That being said, with this strange scenario in the back of his mind, Shapiro said he hopes the little-known rule is a topic of discussion at November's GM Meetings.

"We'll put it on the agenda this year," he said.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.