Wednesday, March 12, 2014
ST. LOUIS — A controversial obstruction call gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 walk-off win in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals' Allen Craig gets tangled with Boston Red Sox's Will Middlebrooks during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in St. Louis. Middlebrooks was called for obstruction on the play and Craig went in to score the game-winning run. The Cardinals won 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
What looked like a bizarre inning-ending double play, became an obstruction call against third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
The Cardinals had runners on second and third with one out. Jon Jay hit a grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
He threw the runner out at home. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia then tried to throw out Allen Craig at third.
The ball got away from Middlebrooks, who fell own reaching for it.
Craig tripped over Middlebrooks, but then got up. Craig, just of the disabled list with an injured foot, hustled home. Left fielder Daniel Nava threw Craig out at home, but umpire Dana DeMuth called Craig safe, signaling obstruction on Middlebrooks.
The Cardinals take a 2-1 lead in the Series, with Game 4 Sunday night.
The first inning could not have gone worst for the Red Sox.
In the top of the inning, Cardinals starter Joe Kelly made Michael Wacha look like a soft-tosser, firing 98 mph fastballs at Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking.
Shane Victorino grounded out to Kelly.
Pedroia grounded out to first baseman Matt Adams.
Kelly threw only 11 pitches, all ranging from 95 to 98 mph, eight of them strikes.
Boston starter Jake Peavy does not have the velocity. Nor did he have success in the first inning.
Four of the first five Cardinals reached on hard-hit singles. The one out was a sacrifice bunt from Carlos Beltran as St. Louis took a 2-0 lead.
With runners on first and second with one out, Peavy limited the damage, getting David Freese to line out to right, and Jon Jay to ground out.
Kelly kept firing. He breezed through the second inning on three ground-outs, and the third on two strikeouts and a ground-out (by Peavy).
Peavy enjoyed 1-2-3 innings in the second and third, helped out by some dubious base-running.
With one out in the third, Matt Holliday hit a short fly to center. As he jogged up the first base line, Ellsbury charge in from his usually deep center-field position.
Ellsbury could not make the play, the ball bouncing off his glove. Holliday made a short break to second base, but then tried to get back to first. Pedroia retrieved the ball and threw Holliday out.
Boston got a baserunner in the fourth inning on an Ellsbury lead-off single. With two outs, the Cardinals pitched around Ortiz, walking him on four pitches. Nava worked a full count before striking out.
St. Louis squandered a big opportunity in the fourth. Yadier Molina led off with a single and then Peavy walked Freese. Jay followed with a single to center field.
Ellsbury was already conceding the run, throwing to the cut-off man, but third base coach Jose Oquendo held up Molina at third base.
Peavy escaped the inning with a strikeout (Pete Kozma), and two pop-ups (Kelly and Matt Carpenter).
Boston finally scored in the fifth. Xander Bogaerts led off with a triple to right center. Saltalamacchia walked. Stephen Drew struck out and Peavy was called back to the dugout.
Mike Carp came in to pinch-hit. He hit a bouncer to second base. Saltalamacchia stopped so he could not be easily tagged out for a double play. St. Louis got only the force-out at second as Bogaerts scored, closing the gap to 2-1.
Felix Doubront relieved Peavy in the fifth. He gave up a two-out double to Matt Adams. After intentionally walking Molina, he got Freese to fly out to right field.
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