Terry Francona knew what he saw. Even if it wasn't clearly evident to those in attendance during the Yankees' 6-2 win over the Indians on Saturday, it was a no-brainer on replay.
And that, the Indians manager said, was precisely his point.
The Indians trailed 5-1 with runners on first (Francisco Lindor) and third (Jason Kipnis) in the top of the third when Michael Brantley hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Greg Bird. Bird fired to shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was covering second base. In real time, it appeared that Gregorius made the forceout -- that's how second-base umpire Dan Iassogna called it -- before making the pivot throw to Bird (Brantley was safe at first).
But replays showed that Gregorius came off the bag because of Bird's wide and high throw and Lindor was about 15 feet from the base.
Francona trotted out to speak with Iassogna to plead his case. The exchange began calmly, but ended in a heated argument as Francona was ejected for the third time this season.
"I thought it was an atrocious explanation," Francona said, "and it continued to be worsened."
The neighborhood play is designed to protect an infielder from an impending runner, but does not apply, according to MLB rules, if the throw draws the infielder away from the bag.
Francona said Iassogna made three points: the throw was good, Gregorius had his foot on the bag, and the runner affected the play at second. "I thought actually, all three were incorrect," Francona said. "The runner wasn't close to the bag."
If the umpires deem it a neighborhood play, it cannot be subject to a replay review.
"Just get it right," Francona said. "The reason I thought they had replay was because we want to get it right."
From his vantage point, Lindor couldn't tell because he was running. But then he saw the replay. "When I came back to the dugout, I saw it," Lindor said. "He was off the bag. I'm not 100 percent sure what the ruling is."
The inning was completely altered. Instead of having the bases loaded with one out, the Indians had first and third with two outs. Carlos Santana struck out against Luis Severino in the next at-bat.
"It changes the game," Lindor said. "It changes the inning, it changes the momentum. I don't want to say that's why we lost the game because it wasn't in that one play, but it probably could have helped us."