Dewayne Wise's run-saving, rally-killing catch in the leftfield seats that wasn't in the seventh inning helped make the difference in the Yankees' 6-4 victory against the Indians Tuesday night.
With Yankees starter Phil Hughes protecting a 4-0 advantage, Michael Brantley opened the seventh with a double to left and advanced to third on Johnny Damon's groundout. Hughes recorded a big second out when Casey Kotchman flied oto right.
That's when things got interesting.
Jack Hannahan sent a drive that sliced toward the seats in foul territory down the left-field line. The speedy Wise set off in headlong pursuit, reached high with his glove to grab the ball before it fell out as Wise tumbled into the stands and disappeared amid a cluster of spectators.
Third-base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled it a catch. His initial explanation was that he "saw the ball into his glove in the stands."
One problem: Several television replays clearly showed the ball caroming off Wise's glove an instant before he disappeared from view. To make matters worse for DiMuro and the Indians, a fan wearing a red shirt could be seen displaying the ball that wasn't caught.
Wise could not return to the dugout fast enough, accompanied by centerfielder Curtis Granderson. "I just asked him if he was OK at first because I was running next to him," Granderson said. "As we got back to the dugout, everybody started laughing, saying he didn't catch it."
Wise could not tell a lie. "Normally, when a guy makes a play like that, the first thing they say is 'Show me the ball.' I guess he was confident I made the catch," Wise said. "Truthfully, the ball popped out."
Hannahan's exasperating evening got worse when he was ejected by DiMuro after he returned to his position at third base and could not contain his frustration.
In the clubhouse afterward, he still could not believe his key at-bat ended that way. "To not ask to see the ball," he said, "I've never seen that before."
DiMuro acknowledged his blunder. "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."
The umpire said of tossing Hannahan, "He told me to reference the tape replay, and that is why I ejected him."