Josh Hamilton backtracked a few steps and appeared at first to make the catch, but the baseball fell to the ground when he moved his glove toward his throwing hand. Third-base umpire Seth Buckminster initially signaled Hart out, ruling the drop came on the transfer.
McClendon emerged from the dugout and initiated a challenge. After a two-minute, 51-second review, the call was overturned and Hamilton was charged with an error. Smoak remained at second base, and Hart took first.
However, the Mariners couldn't take advantage. The next batter, Kyle Seager, walked to load the bases, before Stefen Romero popped out to shortstop and Dustin Ackley flied out to left to end the inning.
After the game, Hamilton was still upset, pointing to the fact he always flips the baseball into his throwing hand instead of reaching in his glove and grabbing it.
"That's terrible," Hamilton said. "You can see the replay. I catch the ball, I come down, then I come back and I'm looking to see what's going on."
The ruling dealt with another rule variation this year regarding "secured possession."
Rangers manager Ron Washington on Monday was not successful in challenging a safe call when his fielder, shortstop Elvis Andrus, similarly dropped a ball while moving the ball to his throwing hand. Expecting an out call on the transfer like baseball has seen in years past, Washington asked for clarification from the league postgame.
On Tuesday, MLB officials issued the following explanation to the Dallas Morning News:
"Umpires and/or replay officials must consider whether the fielder had secured possession of the ball but dropped it during the act of the catch. An example of a catch that would not count is if a fielder loses possession of the ball during the transfer before the ball was secured by his throwing hand."
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.