Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Allen Craig, top, trips of Will Middlebrooks, bottom, in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday. Chris Lee / AP / St Louis Post-Dispatch
Allen Craig, top, trips of Will Middlebrooks, bottom, in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday. Chris Lee / AP / St Louis Post-Dispatch

Bizarre ending sends Cardinals to World Series Game 3 win

St Louis' Allen Craig tripped over Boston's Will Middlebrooks trying to go from third base to home, resulting in an obstruction call to make Craig the winning run on Saturday night.

ST LOUIS, Missouri // The Boston Red Sox keep stumbling. Forget about getting in the path of opponents, they can’t even stay out of their own way.

The crazy 5-4 loss to the St Louis Cardinals on Saturday night, which ended with third baseman Will Middlebrooks, flat on his stomach, raising both legs and obstructing Allen Craig, joins the bizarre Boston lore that includes Johnny Pesky holding the ball on Harry Walker’s hit in 1946 and Bill Buckner allowing Mookie Wilson’s grounder to go through his legs in 1986.

“It’s a crying shame to lose a game like this. I’m absolutely shocked a game of his magnitude ends on a play like that. It just doesn’t seem right,” said Jake Peavy, whose four gritty innings were pretty much forgotten. “We’ve been able to come back all year. I don’t think this is something we can’t come back from. You just don’t expect to lose a game that way. It’s shocking.”

Thirty-eight years after an interference non-call did in the Red Sox in World Series Game 3, an obstruction ruling finished them off.

“This game is not going to define our team,” Dustin Pedroia said. “We lost a tough game. We’ll come out and play tomorrow. This won’t stop us.”

Hope for a third Series sweep in a decade disappeared when Craig Breslow threw wildly over third base in Game 2 and into the Fenway Park stands, turning Matt Carpenter’s tying sacrifice fly into two runs.

When this one ended, Middlebrooks approached the umpires and raised his arms wide, as if to say “What could I do?”

“He was on top of me. There was nowhere for me to go there,” Middlebrooks said. “If I dive and then Army-crawl to second as soon as I hit the ground, that’s the only way I get out of the way there.”

Back in 1975, Cincinnati pinch-hitter Ed Armbrister wasn’t called for interference by plate umpire Larry Barnett when he blocked Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk on a 10th-inning bunt at Riverfront Stadium. Fisk’s throw went off the glove of shortstop Rick Burleson, putting runners on second and third. Joe Morgan’s RBI single gave Cincinnati a 6-5 win, and the Reds took the title in seven games.

This time, the Red Sox overcame deficits of 2-0 and 4-2. It was 4-all in the ninth when Yadier Molina singled with one out in the ninth off loser Brandon Workman and Craig 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, Jon Jay hit a two-hop grounder to a diving Pedroia at second. He made a backhand stop and threw home to Saltalamacchia, who had the ball 15 feet before the sliding Molina arrived at the plate.

Saltamacchia’s throw to third in a try for Craig was about 18 inches to the fair side of the base and bounced into foul territory. Middlebrooks, reaching into fair territory, fell over third base and Craig’s leg. And as left fielder Daniel Nava chased down the ball, Middlebrooks, with his stomach flat on the field, raised both legs and tripped Craig.

Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction. Even though a sliding Craig was tagged by Saltalamacchia at the plate following the throw by Nava, plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and then pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called.

“When I saw it on TV, from the replay, I didn’t see how it was obstruction,” Saltalamacchia said. “He’s laying on the ground. Craig was actually out of the baseline, trying to jump over him.”

All of this would have been unnecessary had the Red Sox been able to throw to third base without sailing the ball toward the left-field seats. Red Sox manager John Farrell said in hindsight, he probably should have double-switched when the pitcher’s spot came up in the eighth, which would have taken Saltalamacchia out of the game.

This wasn’t the Red Sox of the 2000s, who got the job done. This was the Boston of 1918-86, who found a way to lose.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National