BOSTON --- In Sunday's game, the umpires initially told Red Sox manager John Farrell that the front end of a double play is not reviewable. But after they determined a play in the second inning by Xander Bogaerts could be reviewed and Houston followed with a grand slam, Farrell wanted to let the umpires know he wasn't happy about their change of mind.
First-base umpire Doug Eddings tossed Farrell shortly after the visibly frustrated manager went out to argue following Jose Altuve's grand slam, which gave the Astros a 6-0 lead in an eventual 8-1 victory.
With one out in that inning, Houston's Marwin Gonzalez hit a ground ball up the middle that Boston pitcher Joe Kelly got a piece of. It kicked right to Bogaerts. The shortstop threw to first as he reached second base, and it looked like the Red Sox had ended the inning.
But Astros manager Bo Porter challenged the play, contending that Bogaerts had released the ball before touching second base in an attempt to turn the double play. The Red Sox had left the field, but came back on when umpires overturned the call and ruled Marc Krauss was safe at second and Gonzalez out at first.
Farrell came out to plead his case, but to no avail. After Robbie Grossman worked a two-out walk with a nine-pitch at-bat, Altuve ripped a slam over the Green Monster.
"My initial explanation on the field was that the front end of a double play is a nonreviewable play," Farrell said. "My interpretation is the neighborhood play should not be dependent upon a feed throw or not. A neighborhood play is not a reviewable play."
Crew chief Jim Joyce phoned into the Replay Command Center in New York to ask if the play could be reviewed. It was the first time this season Joyce has seen a team try to challenge a play like that, he said. Officials in New York said that it was not the neighborhood play, which means a player is allowed to be near the bag while turning a double play, not necessarily touching it, in order to safely avoid a sliding runner. It was a force play, instead, which is reviewable.
Porter wanted to challenge it, but Joyce first had to determined whether the play could be challenged.
"Being the first time we've had this this year, I thought we better be 100 percent on it," Joyce said. "So instead of just saying to Bo, 'Yes or No' because we really weren't sure, they actually took a couple of minutes on it just to make sure it was reviewable."
The rule is described as such by Section V, Rule D.1:
"Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following calls will not be subject to review:
"The Umpire's judgment that a runner is clearly out on a force play at second base under circumstances in which the defensive player may or may not have touched second base in his attempt to complete a double play and avoid a collision with the runner. All other elements of the call shall be subject to review, including whether the fielder caught the ball, had control of the ball, was drawn off the bag, or tagged the runner. In this regard, a determination as to whether the fielder made a catch before dropping the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch shall be reviewable."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.