Teammates mob St. Louis Cardinals’ Allen Craig at home after Craig scored the game-winning run on an obstruction call during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball’s World Series against the Boston Red Sox Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
by Ben Walker
AP SPorts Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Cardinals rushed to the plate to congratulate Allen Craig. The Red Sox stormed home to argue with the umpires.
The fans, well, they seemed too startled to know what to do. Who’d ever seen an obstruction call to end a World Series game?
In perhaps the wildest finish imaginable, the rare ruling against third baseman Will Middlebrooks allowed Craig to score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and lifted St. Louis over Boston 5-4 Saturday night for a 2-1 edge.
A walk-off win? More like a trip-off.
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. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
“I’m in shock right now,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. “Wow, it’s unbelievable.”
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks tripped Craig after a wild throw got away following Jon Jay’s ninth-inning grounder.
Boston tied the score with two runs in the eighth before Molina singled with one out in the ninth off loser Brandon Workman. Craig, just back from a sprained foot, pinch hit and lined Koji Uehara’s first pitch down the left-field line for a double that put runners on second and third.
With the infield in, Jay hit a grounder to diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He made a sensational stab and threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina.
But then Saltalamacchia threw wide of third while trying to get Craig. After the ball got by, Middlebrooks, with his stomach on the field, raised both legs and tripped Craig, slowing him down as he tried to take off for home plate.
Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction, and even though a sliding Craig was tagged by Saltalamacchia at the plate following the throw by left fielder Daniel Nava, plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and then pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called.
“It’s part of the game,” Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday said. “The guy was in his way. … We’ll take it.”
Craig returned for this Series from a sprained left foot that had sidelined him since early September. After an awkward slide on the final play, he hobbled off the field in apparent discomfort.