Disputed call leads to A's undoing

Disputed call leads to A's undoing

Disputed call leads to A's undoing
SAN FRANCISCO -- The A's were on the wrong end of a second disputed call in three days on Saturday, this one paving the way for the only runs the Giants needed to beat them, 4-0.

Just two days after right-hander Brandon McCarthy's catch of a popup bunt in Texas was incorrectly deemed a trap by home-plate umpire Laz Diaz, fellow righty Tyson Ross' pitch to opposing hurler Ryan Vogelsong with one on and no outs in the seventh inning of a scoreless game was ruled a hit-by-pitch, despite replays showing it may have hit Vogelsong's bat.

By inning's end, the Giants had posted four runs, four more than the A's collected against Vogelsong and Co., as the San Francisco right-hander limited Oakland to just one hit over seven dominant innings in Interleague Play.

"Something hit me," Vogelsong said. "I don't know if it was the ball or my bat. Something hit me in the chest. That's all I know."

A's manager Bob Melvin was so sure it hit the pitcher's bat that he roared out of the dugout not once, but twice, to argue the call, the second visit to home-plate umpire James Hoye leading to his second ejection of the week.

"I just thought it hit the bat," Melvin said. "It sounded like it hit the bat."

He did, however, regret his decision to restart his conversation with Hoye.

"I shouldn't have done that," he said.

"I really couldn't see what happened, but obviously Bob felt there was no way that the ball hit him," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "That was a big part of the game, and any break for any team right there has the momentum to probably win the game. We came back and tried to put some at-bats together, but fell short today."

Added catcher Kurt Suzuki, who watched the play unfold just feet in front of him: "I don't know, that's a tough call. I kinda closed my eyes on that one, just because when it's going in there, you kind of flinch a little bit.

"It was loud, but at the same time you don't know if it deflected or what was going on. All I know is that ball was going right at him. It was weird. I got hit in the hand a couple of weeks ago, and it hurt like heck. But it might have hit him in the chest."

Ross was relieved of his duties after Vogelsong's plate appearance, leading the way for the arrival of Grant Balfour, who walked Gregor Blanco to load the bases. The righty struck out Brandon Crawford for out No. 1, but proceeded to allow a sacrifice fly to Melky Cabrera and back-to-back RBI hits to Buster Posey -- who notched a double -- and Angel Pagan, whose two-run single capped the four-run frame.

"Never easy coming into those situations," said Balfour, who lost the closer job last week. "It is what it is. I was close to getting out of it, and it didn't really help by walking the first guy. I didn't get the job done."

As for the A's, their first and only hit didn't come until the fifth, when Seth Smith notched a one-out single. Daric Barton was the only other Oakland batter to reach base against Vogelsong, drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth. Vogelsong has allowed just four earned runs over 27 1/3 innings in his four starts at home this season.

"Vogelsong pitched well, there's no doubt," Melvin said. "He can mix his pitches in any count, you give him some credit."

Ross, meanwhile, bounced back from a 31-pitch first inning to hold the Giants scoreless over the first six frames, before surrendering a leadoff single in the seventh to Emmanuel Burriss, who advanced to second when Vogelsong was ordered to first on the call that ultimately led to Melvin's ejection.

"I knew he was bunting," Ross said. "I tried to just elevate a fastball and try to induce a popup, make it a double play. It got away from me a little bit. I saw it hit the bat, but the umpire saw it differently. That's how the situation played out. That was a big spot in the game. Unfortunately, he was awarded the base."

"At some point, you have to move on and play and try to shut it down," Melvin said. "We tried to. They just ended up scoring some runs right there."

It marked the A's second straight loss, and 11th consecutive in San Francisco dating to 2009.

"I don't think these guys in here keep track of that," Donaldson said.

Still, such a stretch brings to mind some of the club's weaknesses.

"We've been battling to get runners on and get runners across the plate," Jonny Gomes said. "We can't afford to give away outs. Granted, I don't think we gave that one away, it just didn't go in our favor. We gotta battle just to play the game, because if we don't get the calls our way or the lucky bounces, it makes it that much tougher."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.