NEW YORK -- At first, it appeared to be a jaw-dropping catch. But mouths opened even wider in disbelief at what turned out to be a catch that wasn't made and a question that wasn't asked.
New York Yankees left fielder Dewayne Wise clearly dropped the ball he leapt into the left-field stands trying to catch in the seventh inning of the Yankees' 6-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. He admitted as much later.
Even Wise acknowledged doing a double-take when third-base umpire Mike DiMuro pumped his fist to signal the last out of the seventh inning, stranding a runner at third with the Yankees up 4-0. Wise had attempted to catch the ball hit by Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan, but it popped out of Wise's glove and into the stands in foul territory.
When DiMuro signaled out, without even asking to see the ball, Wise said he kept his glove closed and ran off the field before the ump could change his mind.
"Normally when a guy makes a play like that, that's the first thing they say, to show him the ball," Wise said. "But I guess he was confident that I had made the catch. It was a tough angle for him, but truthfully, the ball popped out. He saw what he saw, you know?
"... He made the call really quickly so I just told myself to try to get up and keep myself together and run off the field."
The play will surely gain attention and revive debate on the need for instant replay.
It also cost the Indians at least a chance at a run in a game they would eventually lose by two, though the Yankees had seemed in control anyway, behind Phil Hughes' eight shutout innings and some key hits, including Curtis Granderson's two-out, two-run single in the second.
Alex Rodriguez later added a solo homer and the Yankees survived the Indians' four-run ninth for their fourth win in a row. Cleveland dropped their fourth straight but finally got its slumping offense going in the ninth, thanks largely to a three-run homer by Jose Lopez off reliever Cory Wade.
Rafael Soriano finally secured the final out for his 16th save of the season.
Lopez had replaced Hannahan, who was ejected in the eighth, an inning after the play, when he viewed replays and tried to ask DiMuro why he didn't ask Wise to see the ball.
"You know, I can live with the fact that he didn't see Dewayne drop the ball and I can live with the fact that there was a fan two feet away from him ... jumping up and down excited he got a foul ball," Hannahan said, referring to a replay shown on the YES network. "You know, I can live with that. But to not ask Dewayne to see the ball, is absolutely inexcusable.
"I asked him about it and he gave me an early hook, too, you know," Hannahan added of the ejection, saying again he thought it was "ridiculous" DiMuro didn't ask to see the ball.
Hannahan said he didn't swear and was ejected for asking the ump why he didn't call for the ball.
DiMuro told a pool reporter he later realized he missed the call and acknowledged he didn't ask to see it from Wise, who kept his glove closed and ran off the field.
"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."
Asked if he asked to see the ball, DiMuro said, "No, I believed the ball was in his glove when he came out to the stands."
After viewing the replay, DiMuro said it was "obvious that the ball fell out of his glove. 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."
On Hannahan's ejection, DiMuro said, "He told me to reference the tape replay and that is why I ejected him."
Hughes had dominated the Indians for most of the game, allowing six hits in eight innings against a Cleveland offense that scored just five runs in its last four games.
"The fastball was outstanding," catcher Chris Stewart said. "He located it inside to them and they weren't able to catch up. He threw his curveball when he needed to put them away and you can't ask for anything better than that."
The Yankees peppered a few timely hits together to go up 3-0 on Justin Masterson (4-7) in the second, including an RBI single by Stewart and the two-run single by Granderson.
New York added a run in the fifth on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
Rodriguez homered in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-0 advantage and the Yankees added a run on Stewart's sacrifice fly in the eighth to go up 6-0.
Cleveland rallied with four runs on four hits off Wade in the ninth before Soriano finally got Lonnie Chisenhall on a grounder to first to end the game.
NOTES: Yankees catcher Russell Martin (stiff back) was out the lineup for the third straight game, but swung a bat for the first time since noticing the injury Saturday. Martin said he thought he could play Wednesday, though he didn't expect to be fully healed. ... Derek Jeter celebrated his 38th birthday Tuesday, with the Bleacher Creatures in right field chanting "Happy birthday" during the roll call instead of calling out his name. "As you get older, you learn your body more, you learn your abilities more and you learn different ways to improve," said Jeter, who had two hits. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner was scheduled to begin a rehab stint with Class AAA Columbus (Ohio) on Wednesday, the Indians said. Hafner underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on May 31.