Daric Barton couldn’t see the play at first base in the ninth inning.
He could feel it, though, and that was good enough for him.
Moments after John Jaso’s homer put the A’s in position to score a 3-2 win over the Angels, Oakland reliever Luke Gregerson came out of the bullpen and got two quick ground balls.
The first one was routine. The second was bobbled at second base by Nick Punto, who quickly regrouped and fired a throw to Barton. Umpire Chris Segal called base runner Howie Kendrick out, and the Angels howled.
Barton said he knew they didn’t have much of a case, even without seeing the play, or a replay.
“I could feel the ball hit my glove before I felt him hit the bag,’’ Barton said. “For me there was no question. It was an out.
“The one thing though was that I hadn’t closed my glove around the ball, and the angle of the replay usually doesn’t show that. But I knew we had the out.’’
It didn’t hurt that A’s catcher Derek Norris had been called out on a similar play at first base in the fourth inning. That was the last play of the inning, and close plays haven’t been getting overturned, so there was no challenge from the A’s.
“In that situation with Norris, I know they aren’t going to overturn it, so it wasn’t the time to challenge,’’ Melvin said. “In the ninth inning (Angels manager Mike Scioscia) had to challenge. Some challenges are going to be out of desperation.’’
That one was. It wouldn’t have been a close play ifPunto hadn’t bobbled the ball, but he didn’t panic. He grabbed the ball and threw it to first without trying to throw the speed of light.
He didn’t overdo it, and Barton felt good about the replay and review.
“They haven’t been overturning that call,’’ he said.