ST. LOUIS – St. Louis got some help from the Red Sox Saturday night in the form of an obstruction call against the Boston third baseman. That call enabled Allen Craig to score the game-winning run Saturday night as the Cardinals beat the Red Sox 5-4 in front of 47,432 fans at Busch Stadium.
“When the play developed after (Jarrod) Saltalamacchia threw the ball at third base,” third base umpire Jim Joyce said, “after the ball had gone straight through and Allen (Craig) had slid into third and stood up to attempt to go to home plate, everything was off right there. And when (Craig) tried to advance to home plate and the feet were up in the air and he tripped over Middlebrooks right there, and immediately and instinctively I called obstruction.”
Major League Baseball’s Joe Torre read the rule direct from the rule book after the game.
“Let me read, it give the example on Rule 2,” Torre said. “An infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.”
Craig’s game-winning run might have come with a cost though, as the Cardinals’ first baseman had to be helped into the clubhouse after scoring.
The way the Cardinals' offense played, they shouldn’t have won. The Cardinals stranded 11 runners on base over the first eight innings, twice leaving a runner stranded on third base after reaching with no outs.
“Typically, against a very good team, when you start giving away opportunities like bases loaded with no outs and we had a man on third with less than two outs later and we weren’t able to capitalize,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “That is something we had done a very good job of this year. Typically, in these kinds of games you are going to have to come through. … Typically those things don’t lead towards a win.”
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Yadier Molina picked up his third hit of the game. With the pitcher’s spot up, Craig came in to pinch hit and promptly doubled to left, giving the Cardinals runners at second and third with one out.
Instead of walking Jon Jay with first base open, the Red Sox decided to pitch to the Cardinals’ center fielder. Jay hit the ball to second where Dustin Pedroia fired it home to easily nail Molina at the plate for the second out. But, that’s when everything fell apart for the Red Sox.
Saltalamacchia, Boston’s catcher, threw to third, trying to double up Craig, but the throw was errant and Will Middlebrooks got tangled up with Craig. As Craig tried to get up, Middlebrooks lifted his leg and tripped Craig. The third base umpire immediately signaled interference, but Craig still tried to get up and run home, where the relay throw beat him to the plate.
It didn’t matter though as the call had already been made and the game was over with the Cardinals getting the win.
St. Louis took a 2-0 lead in the first and had opportunities to extend it, but didn’t capitalize on those chances. That would hurt the Redbirds later as Boston chipped away and tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth. After the Cardinals retook the lead in the seventh, Boston came right back to re-tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the eighth.
Twice the Cardinals had a runner at third base with no outs and failed to score.
In the fourth, St. Louis loaded the bases with no outs and got nothing. Then in the seventh, Matt Holiday drilled a double down the left field line to plate two runs and advanced to third on the throw home, but once again the Cardinals failed to bring home a runner from third with no outs.
Neither starting pitcher was a factor in the outcome of the game.
Boston starter Jake Peavy got a no decision even though he didn’t make it past the fourth inning. Peavy allowed two runs on six hits over four innings of work while throwing 64 pitches. Kelly was pulled with one out in the sixth. The Cardinals’ righty allowed two runs on just two hits and three walks while striking out six, tying his career high. But it wasn’t enough for Kelly to get the win.
“I think I did pretty good,” Kelly said. “It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life and I had a great time out there , having fun and just getting the chance to pitch in the World Series. It sounds cliché, but it’s definitely a childhood dream. I was just having a blast.”
Matt Holiday was 2-for-5 with a double and drove in three of the Cardinals runs and scored one while Molina was 3-for-4 with an intentional walk. Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams also had multiple hits for the Cardinals. The bottom third of the Cardinals’ line up was a combined 2-for-13. Only Jay and late inning defensive replacement Kolten Wong had base hits.
The win went to rookie closer Trevor Rosenthal (1-0) who was unable to hold a 4-2 lead when he took the mound in the top of the eighth with one out and the bases loaded. Rosenthal did pitch a 1-2-3 scoreless ninth inning.
It’s been surreal,” Rosenthal said. “I had the opportunity to play in some championship games in the leagues I was in, in the minor leagues, and that was fun. But that doesn’t even compare as far as the stage and the experience and getting to see our guys perform. … It’s a lot of fun.”
With the game tied in the top of the ninth, Boston manager John Farrell let his pitcher, Brandon Workman, hit instead of using Mike Napoli. Workman struck out.
“In hindsight, (I) probably should have double-switched after Salty made the final out of the previous inning with Workman coming in the game,” Farrell said. “I felt like if we get into an extended situation, which that game was looking like it was going to – (I) held Nap back in the event that spot came up again. Like I said, in hindsight having Workman hit against Rosenthal is a mismatch. I recognize it, but we needed more than one inning out of Workman.”
Both teams will be back on the field tonight for Game 4. Lance Lynn will take the hill as the Cardinals try to increase their lead to a three games to one advantage.