"We were trying to go in since he has a lot of power," Indians catcher Roberto Perez said. "It was nothing intentional."
Lackey appeared to have an opposing view, when asked whether he thought the Holliday pitch was intentional.
"He was throwing a no-hitter," Lackey said. "Looked like he knew where it was going pretty good."
When Kipnis was hit in the fourth inning, he slammed down his bat and stared at Lackey. Francona rushed out on the field to defend his player, knowing the consequences that would follow.
"I knew if I went out there he was going to throw me out. I just wanted him to tell me ... that he wasn't throwing at Kip," Francona said. "I said, 'Just tell me' and he wouldn't and that's when I probably said some things that I shouldn't have.
"He still hasn't answered my question and I think if he would have answered it he would have acted differently because I called the pitch to [third-base coach Brad Mills] when he got hit. I'm not that good, so ... that's not right. I thought he deserved it, the way he didn't respond or lack of response, he deserved to be yelled at."
The ejection was the first of the 2015 season for Francona and the 37th of his career.
Kipnis was hit again in his next at-bat, this time in the back by Randy Choate on an 83-mph, 2-0 sinker.
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.