October 27, 2013

Tangled up in blue

An obstruction call in the ninth inning allows 
St. Louis to take a 2-1 series lead

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS — A controversial obstruction call in the ninth inning Saturday night gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the World Series.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Allen Craig gets tangled with Boston Red Sox’s Will Middlebrooks during the ninth inning Saturday night in St. Louis. Middlebrooks was called for obstruction on the play and Craig went in to score the winning run. The Cardinals won 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Associated Press

Boston Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury can’t catch a ball hit by Matt Holliday of St. Louis in the third inning of Saturday’s Game 3 of the World Series in St. Louis. With the series tied 1-1, Boston trailed 2-0 in the fifth inning. The game was not finished by deadline and details are available at www.pressherald.com/sports.

The Associated Press

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What looked like a bizarre inning-ending double play became an obstruction call against third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

With runners on second and third and one out in a tie game, Jon Jay hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who 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 while reaching for it.

After tripping over Middlebrooks, Craig tried to get up and their feet tangled. Craig broke free and headed home. Left fielder Daniel Nava threw Craig out, but umpire Dana DeMuth called Craig safe, signaling obstruction on Middlebrooks.

“Tough way to have a game end,” said Red Sox Manager John Farrell. “I don’t know how Will gets out of the way when he falls down.”

The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the Series with Game 4 on Sunday night.

The first inning could not have gone worse 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.

Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking, Shane Victorino grounded out to Kelly and Pedroia grounded 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 doesn’t 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 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 out to right and Jay to ground out.

Kelly kept firing. He breezed through the second inning on three groundouts and the third on two strikeouts and a groundout by Peavy.

Peavy enjoyed 1-2-3 innings in the second and third, helped out by some dubious baserunning.

With one out in the third, Matt Holliday hit a short fly to center. As he jogged up the first-base line, Ellsbury charged in from his usually deep center-field position.

Ellsbury couldn’t make the play, the ball bouncing off his glove. Holliday made a short break to second, then tried to get back to first. Pedroia retrieved the ball and threw Holliday out.

Boston got a baserunner in the fourth on an Ellsbury leadoff 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, then Peavy walked Freese. Jay followed with a single to center field.

Ellsbury was already conceding the run, throwing to the cutoff 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 couldn’t be easily tagged out for a double play. St. Louis got only the force 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 to right field.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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David Ortiz had his glove, needed his glove Saturday night for Game 3 of the World Series. With no designated hitter, Ortiz played first base and Mike Napoli was on the bench against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Associated Press

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Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell argues with home plate umpire Dana DeMuth after St. Louis Cardinals scored the winning run on an obstruction play during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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The St. Louis Cardinals were celebrating just as the Boston Red Sox started arguing Saturday night. Allen Craig is at the bottom of the pile after scoring when an obstruction call was made, giving St. Louis a 5-4 victory in the game and a 2-1 lead in the World Series. The teams will play Game 4 on Sunday night.

The Associated Press

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