Boston at St. Louis

St. Louis
W: T. Rosenthal (1-0) L: B. Workman (0-1)
HR: BOS - None   STL - None

Cardinals win wild Game 3 on rare obstruction call in 9th wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- No way Allen Craig and the St. Louis Cardinals would get tripped up in one of the wildest World Series endings imaginable.

A rare obstruction call on third baseman Will Middlebrooks let Craig score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, finishing off a mad-cap play that sent the Cardinals over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Saturday night for a 2-1 Series lead.

"I'm in shock right now," St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said.

So was most everyone at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals poured from the dugout to congratulate Craig. The Red Sox also rushed to the plate, to argue with the umpires. The fans seemed too startled to cheer.

A walk-off win? More like a trip-off.

"Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

After an umpire's call was the crux of Game 1 and a poor Boston throw to third base helped decide Game 2, this night combined both elements.

Molina singled with one out in the ninth off losing pitcher Brandon Workman. Craig, just back from a sprained foot, pinch-hit and lined Koji Uehara's first pitch into left field for a double that put runners on second and third.

With the infield in, Jon Jay hit a grounder to diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He made a sensational stab and threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina.

But then Saltalamacchia threw wide of third trying to get Craig. The ball glanced off Middlebrooks' glove and Craig's body, caroming into foul territory down the line.

After the ball got by, Middlebrooks, lying on his stomach, raised both legs and tripped Craig, slowing him down as he tried to take off for home.

"I just know I have to dive for that ball. I'm on the ground. There's nowhere for me to go," Middlebrooks said.

Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction.

"With the defensive player on the ground, without intent or intent, it's still obstruction," Joyce said. "You'd probably have to ask Middlebrooks that one, if he could have done anything. But that's not in our determination."

Craig kept scrambling.

"He was in my way. I couldn't tell you if he tried to trip me or not. I was just trying to get over him," he said.

Left fielder Daniel Nava retrieved the ball and made a strong throw home, where Saltalamacchia tagged a sliding Craig in time. But plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and then pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called.

"I was excited at first because we nailed the guy at home. I wasn't sure why he was called safe," Middlebrooks said.

"We're all running to home to see why he was called safe. We didn't think there was any obstruction there, obviously. As I'm getting up, he trips over me. I don't know what else to say."

Said Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday: "You hate for it to end on a somewhat controversial play."

"You would like for it to end a little cleaner, but that's part of it," he said.

Joyce and crew chief John Hirschbeck said they'd never seen a similar game-ending play.

A neat coincidence, though: In 2004, umpire Paul Emmel called obstruction on Seattle shortstop Jose Lopez, ruling he blocked Carl Crawford's sightline and giving Tampa Bay the game-ending run. Emmel was the first base umpire on this night, too.

To some Red Sox fans, the tangle might've brought back painful memories from the 1975 World Series. In Game 3, Cincinnati's Ed Armbrister wasn't called for interference by plate umpire Larry Barnett when he blocked Boston catcher Carlton Fisk on a 10th-inning bunt. Fisk made a wild throw, setting up Joe Morgan's winning single.

Craig returned for this Series from a sprained left foot that had sidelined him since early September. After an awkward slide on the final play, he hobbled off the field in apparent discomfort.

The Red Sox scored twice in the eighth to tie it 4-all. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this postseason. Both runners moved up on Pedroia's groundout, and David Ortiz was intentionally walked.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to hard-throwing closer Trevor Rosenthal with the bases loaded, hoping for a five-out save from a rookie who has looked almost untouchable this October. But the Red Sox pushed two runs across.

Nava drove in one with a short-hop grounder that was smothered by second baseman Kolten Wong, who had just entered on defense in a double-switch.

Wong went to second for the forceout, but Nava beat the relay and Ellsbury scored to make it 4-3. Xander Bogaerts tied it when he chopped a single up the middle.

Workman jammed Holliday and retired the slugger on a routine fly with two on to end the bottom of the eighth. That sent the game to the ninth tied at 4. Rosenthal wound up with the win.

Holliday's two-run double put the Cardinals on top 4-2 in the seventh.

It was a tough inning for Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow. Matt Carpenter reached safely when he checked his swing on an infield single to shortstop. Carlos Beltran was grazed on the elbow pad by a pitch -- making no effort to get out of the way.

Beltran, in fact, almost appeared to stick his elbow out just a tiny bit to make sure the ball made contact.

Junichi Tazawa came on and Holliday pulled a grounder past Middlebrooks at third. The ball kicked into the left-field corner and Holliday went all the way to third on the throw to the plate.

Tazawa then got a couple of strikeouts and prevented further damage.

It was Middlebrooks' first inning in the field. He entered as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh and took over at third base in the bottom half.

That shifted Bogaerts to shortstop -- and neither one was able to make the difficult defensive play Boston needed in that inning.

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly, one of the few major league pitchers to wear glasses on the mound, set down his first nine batters. The Red Sox seemed to see him better the next time around in coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

Bogaerts opened the fifth with a triple that banged-up right fielder Beltran couldn't quite reach. The rookie later scored on a grounder by pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

Slumping Shane Victorino drew a leadoff walk from Kelly in the sixth and wound up scoring the tying run. Ortiz grounded a single off lefty reliever Randy Choate, and Nava greeted Seth Maness with an RBI single that made it 2-all.

Their fielding woes from Game 1 far behind them, the slick-fielding Cardinals made several sharp plays. Kelly barehanded a one-hopper, Carpenter threw out a runner from his knees up the middle and third baseman David Freese backhanded a line drive.

St. Louis quickly broke ahead, scoring in the first inning for the first time this October on RBI singles by Holliday and Molina. After the Cardinals got three hits in a span of four pitches, Red Sox reliever Felix Doubront began heating up in a hurry before Jake Peavy settled down.


Cardinals Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Red Schoendienst took part in the first-ball festivities, with fan favorite Willie McGee tossing the pitch. ... At 21, Bogaerts became the third-youngest player to hit a triple in a World Series. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle did it at 20. ... Molina has a six-game hitting streak in World Series play. ... The family of late umpire Wally Bell was in the stands. Bell died at 48 this month, and the six-man crew is wearing patches to honor him. Bell's first plate job in the World Series was at this ballpark in 2006.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
John Farrell looks for an explanation after an unforgettable ending to Game 3 that gives the Cards a 2-1 series lead.  (USATSI)
John Farrell looks for an explanation after an unforgettable ending to Game 3 that gives the Cards a 2-1 series lead. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

X. Bogaerts
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5120021 .365
Shane Victorino, RF2200101 .188
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4000002 .260
David Ortiz, 1B2010200 .279
Daniel Nava, LF4012012 .294
Xander Bogaerts, 3B-SS4121001 .313
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3000122 .188
Stephen Drew, SS2000022 .091
   a-Will Middlebrooks, PH-3B2000010 .160
Jake Peavy, P1000000 .000
   b-Mike Carp, PH1001000 .000
   Felix Doubront, P0000000 .000
   c-Jonny Gomes, PH1000000 .152
   Craig Breslow, P0000000 .000
   Junichi Tazawa, P0000000 .000
   Brandon Workman, P1000010 .000
   Koji Uehara, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Drew in the 7th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Peavy in the 5th
c-flied out for Doubront in the 7th
3B - Xander Bogaerts (1, Kelly)
RBI - Daniel Nava 2 (2), Xander Bogaerts (2), Mike Carp (1)
2-OUT RBI - Xander Bogaerts (1)
Team LOB - 6
E - Jacoby Ellsbury (1, Dropped fly), Will Middlebrooks (1, Interference)
Boston Red Sox
Jake Peavy 4622140 7.11
Felix Doubront 2100100 0.00
Craig Breslow 0122000 2.45
Junichi Tazawa 1100120 1.35
Brandon Workman (L,0-1) 1.1210110 0.00
Koji Uehara 0.1100000 0.87
IBB - Molina by Felix Doubront, Beltran by Brandon Workman
HBP - Beltran (by Craig Breslow)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Peavy 64-43, Felix Doubront 25-14, Craig Breslow 5-3, Junichi Tazawa 24-11, Brandon Workman 30-17, Koji Uehara 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Peavy 2-6, Felix Doubront 2-4, Koji Uehara 1-0
Batters Faced - Jake Peavy 19, Felix Doubront 8, Craig Breslow 2, Junichi Tazawa 5, Brandon Workman 7, Koji Uehara 2
St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter, 2B-3B5220004 .182
Carlos Beltran, RF2100110 .261
Matt Holliday, LF5123002 .276
Matt Adams, 1B5020031 .259
Yadier Molina, C4031111 .294
David Freese, 3B2000204 .178
   Daniel Descalso, PR-3B0000000 .158
   Trevor Rosenthal, P0000000 .000
   a-Allen Craig, PH1110000 .375
Jon Jay, CF5010004 .200
Pete Kozma, SS4000013 .152
Joe Kelly, P2000013 .125
   Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
   Seth Maness, P0000000 .000
   b-Shane Robinson, PH1000000 .333
   Kevin Siegrist, P0000000 .000
   Carlos Martinez, P0000000 .000
   Kolten Wong, 2B1010000 .167
a-doubled for Rosenthal in the 9th
b-popped out for Maness in the 6th
2B - Matt Holliday (4, Tazawa), Matt Adams (3, Doubront), Allen Craig (1, Uehara)
SH - Carlos Beltran (1)
RBI - Matt Holliday 3 (9), Yadier Molina (4)
SB - Kolten Wong (1, 2nd base off Workman/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 12
DP - M. Carpenter-Kozma-Adams
St. Louis Cardinals
Joe Kelly 5.1222360 4.15
Randy Choate 0100000 0.00
Seth Maness (BS,1) 0.2100000 0.00
Kevin Siegrist 1000010 4.50
Carlos Martinez (H,5) 0.1122100 4.50
Trevor Rosenthal (W,1-0; BS,1) 1.2100020 0.00
IBB - Ortiz by Carlos Martinez
HBP - Victorino (by Carlos Martinez)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kelly 89-53, Randy Choate 4-3, Seth Maness 6-4, Kevin Siegrist 8-5, Carlos Martinez 20-9, Trevor Rosenthal 20-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kelly 7-3, Seth Maness 1-0, Carlos Martinez 1-0, Trevor Rosenthal 3-0
Batters Faced - Joe Kelly 21, Randy Choate 1, Seth Maness 2, Kevin Siegrist 3, Carlos Martinez 4, Trevor Rosenthal 6
Game Information
Attendance - 47432
Game Time - 3:54
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Jim Joyce