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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Cardinals beat Red Sox, 5-4, in wild finish

Obstruction at third base in the bottom of the ninth inning allows Allen Craig to score the winning run. St. Louis takes a 2-1 lead in World Series.

October 26, 2013|By Mark Gonzales
  • Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, left, calls St. Louis' Allen Craig, center, safe at home against Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the World Series.
Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, left, calls St. Louis' Allen Craig,… (Rob Carr / Getty Images )

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals turned potentially decisive leads into harrowing and entertaining sequences Saturday in Game 3 of the World Series.

Much of that stemmed from their inability to capitalize on rallies in the fourth and seventh innings.

But that set up the zaniest finish, as Allen Craig was awarded home plate on an obstruction play called on Will Middlebrooks at third base after an errant throw by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two out in the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

PHOTOS: Cardinals defeat Red Sox, 5-4, in Game 3

With runners at second base and third base, Matt Adams was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice. Craig, who had hit a pinch-hit single but was nursing a sore ankle, ran to third. Saltalamacchia made an errant throw into left field that caused Middlebrooks to fall in front of Craig and prevent him from advancing immediately.

“When the play developed after Saltalamacchia threw the ball to third base, after the ball had gone straight through, and Craig had slid into third and stood up to attempt to go to home plate, everything was off right there,” said third base umpire Jim Joyce, who made the call. “And when [Craig] tried to advance to home plate, [Middlebrooks'] feet were up in the air and [Craig] tripped over.”

Game 3 provided many shifts in momentum. The Red Sox, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit, took a shot at their first lead in the seventh inning by lifting sure-fielding shortstop Stephen Drew, who is four for 44 with 17 strikeouts in the postseason, for pinch-hitter Middlebrooks.

Middlebrooks flied to center field and stayed in the game at third base, with rookie Xander Bogaerts moving to shortstop.

But Bogaerts made an off-line throw to first base that enabled Matt Carpenter to reach base safely. That led to two runs, capped by a double by Matt Holliday down the left-field line to end a 2-2 tie.

BOX SCORE: Cardinals 5, Red Sox 4

The Red Sox rallied to tie the score, 4-4, in the eighth inning.

And it was Bogaerts who chopped a 1-and-2 pitch off the glove of shortstop Pete Kozma behind second base to drive in the tying run.

Boston starter Jake Peavy worked out of a jam in the fourth inning while trailing, 2-0. He struck out Kozma on a called third strike and induced Joe Kelly and Carpenter to pop out, stranding runners at the corners.

Manager John Farrell was on the verge of pulling Peavy as early as the first inning when the Cardinals collected three consecutive hits to take a 2-0 lead. Pitching coach Juan Nieves visited Peavy on the mound as left-hander Felix Doubront warmed up.

Peavy worked out of the jam, and Farrell was able to save Doubront until the fifth inning after Peavy was lifted for pinch-hitter Mike Carp, who grounded into a fielder's choice to drive in Bogaerts. Daniel Nava's single tied the score in the sixth inning.

“Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance when Will is trying to dive inside to stop the throw and I don't know how he gets out of the way when he's lying on the ground,” Farrell said. “And when Craig trips over him, I guess by the letter of the rule you can say it's obstruction.

“But like I said, that's a tough pill to swallow.”

mgonzales@tribune.com

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