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World Series Game 3: St. Louis 5, Boston 4

Allen Craig had a pinch hit double in the 9th and scored on a wild play for the walkoff win for the Cardinals.


A play that will be talked about in Boston until the end of time cost the Red Sox in Game 3. 
by Steve Silva, Boston.com

What an ugly finish for the Boston Red Sox.

St. Louis wins Game 3 on a walkoff-obstruction-call in the bottom of the ninth inning here at Busch Stadium. The Cards now lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one.

Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw the ball away trying to throw out Allen Craig --- who was heading into third base -- and Craig was called safe on an obstruction call on Will Middlebrooks, who seemingly prevented Craig from advancing home. Craig -- who came on to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth -- had doubled on a line drive to left fielder Daniel Nava. Yadier Molina, who singled earlier, moved to third. John Jay then hit a grounder to second and after Saltalamacchia nabbed the lead runner at the plate on a tremendous play by Dustin Pedroia, the Sox catcher tried to get Craig at third base, but the throw got away from Middlebrooks and the winning run scored on the obstruction call.

It was a controversial call to say the least that will have the Twittersphere and talk radio buzzing for days.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked what his argument was to the umpires after the game.

"Well, he was awarded home plate after the obstruction call at third base," Farrell said. "Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance, when Will [Middlebrooks] is trying to dive inside to stop the throw. I don't know how he gets out of the way when he's lying on the ground. And when Craig trips over him, I guess by the letter of the rule you could say it's obstruction. Like I said, that's a tough pill to swallow.

"I have seen [the replay]. I can't say the legs were being raised in an effort to impede his progress. It's a tough way to have a game to end. He got tangled up with him and that was the call... But just I thought it was a hard-fought game. And you know what, we're back out here tomorrow night."

Third base umpire Jim Joyce also weighed in on the play after the game.

"When the play developed after the ball had gone straight through," Joyce said. "When he tried to advance to home plate, the feet were up in the air and he tripped over Middlebrooks and I instinctively called obstruction… the feet didn't really play too much into that because he was still in the area where the baserunner needs to go and the baserunner has the right to go…. there was contact and he could not go to home plate naturally."

Umpiring chief Jon Hirschbeck also weighed in: "There does not have to be intent" for obstruction to be called.

MLB executive VP of baseball operations Joe Torre added: "(Middlebrooks) didn't mean to do it, but it didn't matter. It was obstruction."

Farrell also admitted it may have been a bad move to let Brandon Workman bat in the ninth inning.

"Yeah, in hindsight, probably should have double-switched after Salty made the final out of the previous inning, with Workman coming into the game," Farrell said. "I felt like if we get into an extended situation, which that game was looking like it was going to -- held Nap back in the event that spot came up again. In hindsight having Workman bat against Rosenthal was a mismatch. I recognize that... I felt like we had 4-5 outs with Koji..We were trying to get two innings out of Workman."

The Red Sox rallied to tie it up in the top of the eighth.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a single, then Shane Victorino was … wait for it…  hit by a pitch. Dustin Pedroia followed with a ground ball force that moved the runners along to second and third. After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal came in to replace Carlos Martinez. Daniel Nava greeted Rosenthal with a ground ball force out at second base that scored a run. Xander Bogaerts then hit a ground ball single up the middle that scored Victorino to tie it up, 4-4.

Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday made up for an earlier base running gaffe when he drilled a two-run double to give the Cardinals the 4-2 lead in the seventh inning. Holliday's sharp grounder snuck past the glove of Will Middlebrooks -- who replaced Bogaerts at third base to start the inning. 

Matt Carpenter reached on a ground ball to short to start the seventh inning rally for St. Louis. The infield hit came on a play where Bogaerts -- who replaced the struggling Stephen Drew at shortstop after a series of moves -- threw wide and low throw to Ortiz at first base. 

You can expect to hear a lot of complaining about the Red Sox defense and substitutions after this game.

Nava drove in Victorino to tie it up 2-2 in the sixth inning. Victorino came through with a rare walk to start the inning. After Pedroia really hit a laser that was snagged by Cards third baseman David Freese, Oritiz then singled to right, moving Victorino to third. Nava then drilled a base hit off reliever Seth Maness to knock Victorino in for the tying run.

The Red Sox scored their first run the fifth inning. Bogaerts led off the inning with a triple to center. Kelly then walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia, struck out Drew, but Mike Carp came in to bat for starter Jake Peavy and knocked in the Red Sox first run of the game on a ground ball force at second.

Bogaerts has five hits this postseason, four for extra bases: three doubles and a triple tonight to go along with the run-scoring single.

It was deja vu all over the again at the start for Peavy who struggled against the Tigers in his last outing. The Cardinals jumped on the veteran righthander in the first inning. Holliday drove in Matt Carpenter with a line drive base hit to get the Cardinals on top 1-0. Then consecutive singles by Matt Adams and Yadier Molina made it 2-0 Cardinals as Holliday scored. It could have been worse, but Peavy escaped without more damage being done but the four hard hit balls got Doubront up and warming in the Boston bullpen early.

Peavy left the game after four innings, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. After the disastrous first inning, Peavy settled down in the second and third, then worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning to complete his night.

"Jake gave us everything he had," Farrell said. "The four base hits in the first inning. I thought in that third and fourth inning we started to get some opportunities. But when they did, they were able to keep us off the board."

Doubront came on in relief of Peavy in the fifth inning. The Sox lefty let two base runners on in the fifth, but came back with a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth on seven pitches.

The two teams combined for 12 pitchers in Game 3, tying a World Series record for a ninth inning game.

In the third inning, Holliday popped up to Ellsbury in center, Ellsbury then dropped the ball for an error but Dustin Pedroia picked up the ball and was able to get Holliday trying to scramble back to first. Holliday was slow jogging toward first on the hit, if he had been running, he would have been on second base on the play.

"Effort is by far easiest thing in baseball to control," former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler tweeted after the play. "Popping up, frustrating as can be but can't quantify the importance of that play."

Ellsbury had a baserunning gaffe of his own in the top of the fourth, when he failed to tag up and get to second base on a long fly ball out by Pedroia with one out. The Red Sox would strand Ellsbury and Ortiz (walk) in the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Cards loaded the bases with on out and it looked like Peavy's night would be ending. But Peavy bounced back big time by striking out Pete Kozma, the retiring Kelly and Carpenter on infield popups to get out of the jam without giving up a run.

Game 4 right back here Sunday night. Clay Buchholz, the Nations turns its lonely eyes to you.
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