CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona figured he had nothing to lose. In the ninth inning of a game, there is no use sitting on the managerial challenges that are now available for instant-replay reviews.
In the final inning of Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Twins, Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe slid awkwardly across the plate on the tail end of a sacrifice fly from Aaron Hicks. Francona emerged from the dugout and challenged home-plate umpire Jerry Meals' safe ruling, because it appeared that Plouffe may have missed the plate.
"We thought there was a chance," Francona said. "It's the ninth inning. You're not going to hurt anything. By that point, if we lose it, you can't save it."
Francona lost the challenge when a review confirmed Meals' call.
Plouffe appeared to miss the plate at first, but a slow-motion replay showed him dragging his left foot across it at the last possible moment. The ruling gave the Twins a three-run cushion that proved sufficient for closer Glen Perkins to notch a save in the home half of the ninth.