Cardinals Take Series Lead on Interference Call in 9th
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Bottom of the 9th inning. Tie game. Runners on 2nd and 3rd base. Jon Jay rips a hard grounder to 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia, who knocks the ball down and fires a strike to home plate to get the slow-footed Yadier Molina on a tag. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then throws to 3rd base to try and cut down a sliding Allen Craig.
The ball sails wide of Will Middlebrooks at 3rd, and he makes contact with Craig as he attempts to get up (on one good foot, albeit) and run home.
Baserunning interference is called on Middlebrooks. Craig is awarded home plate.
Ball game. Cardinals 5, Red Sox 4.
If a walkoff interference call has ever been made in a bigger situation, that situation escapes the baseball world tonight.
Regardless, the St. Louis Cardinals lead the World Series 2 games to 1.
The Cardinals looked to have sealed the deal with another 7th inning rally. Matt Holliday drove in 2 runs on a double under Middlebrooks’ outstretched glove and down the 3rd base line into left field. With a 4-2 lead, St. Louis was 6 outs away from a win.
The Red Sox responded in the top of the 8th with a pair of runs of their own. With runners on 2nd and 3rd base and 1 out the Cardinals elected to intentionally walk David Ortiz and load the bases. Closer Trevor Rosenthal was brought in but a Daniel Nava fielder’s choice and a single by Xander Bogarts tied the game and earned Rosenthal a tough-luck blown save.
At its onset, Game 3 looked like it could be a blowout in favor of the home team.
Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single, and was bunted over to second base by a sacrificing Carlos Beltran. Holliday, Matt Adams, and Molina each followed with a single and the Cardinals had plated 2 runners against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy.
Cardinals’ starter Joe Kelly was perfect through 3 innings, retiring each of the Red Sox 9 batters in succession. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the 4th inning with a single. 2 batters late Ortiz drew a walk to move Ellsbury to second with 2 outs. Kelly then struck out Nava to get out of the jam.
The Red Sox scored their first run in the 5th inning after Bogarts led off with a triple off Kelly. Saltalamacchia walked, Stephen Drew struck out, and John Farrell sent Mike Carp to the plate to hit in place of Peavy in the 9-hole.
Carp grounded into a fielder’s choice but beat the throw to first, scoring Bogarts in the process. Kelly then struck out Ellsbury to end the inning.
Boston evened up the score at 2 in the top of the 7th inning. Shane Victorino walked and advanced to 3rd base on a single by Ortiz. Seth Maness came on to relieve Randy Choate, but Daniel Nava drove Victorino home with a single to center.
The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the 5th inning after Felix Dubront replaced Peavy on the mound for Boston. David Freese flied out with runners on 1st and 2nd base and 2 outs, stranding a pair for the Cardinals.
The defining moment of Game 3 will undoubtedly be the ending, but the night was filled with questionable managerial moves by Red Sox skipper John Farrell.
Farrell’s decision to lift Dubront in favor of Craig Breslow to begin the 7th inning was questionable after Breslow’s eerily similar error proved costly in Game 2.
Breslow allowed the first two runners to reach base before giving way to Junichi Tazawa without recording an out. Holliday then lined his 2-run double past Middlebrooks to give St. Louis the lead.
Farrell will also be scrutinized for failing to get Mike Napoli an at-bat as a pinch hitter. Saltalamacchia not being replaced by veteran catcher David Ross for defensive purposes late in the game also will be questioned, as will the decision not to bring closer Koji Uehara into the game until there was a runner on in the bottom of the 9th.
The Red Sox are set to send Clay Buchholz to the mound for Game 4, health permitting. After another thrilling victory for the Cardinals, Game 4 is almost a must win for Boston.