Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Allen Craig (21) scores the winning run on an obstruction call even though Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) gets the tag on him during the ninth inning of game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Cardinals won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Obstructed: Red Sox fall to Cardinals; Trail Series 2-1

Game 3 of the 2013 World Series was bad from start to finish, concluding in a rare outing from Koji Uehara, who gave up the walk off in the ninth.

Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning during game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Things kicked off with Jake Peavy getting hit hard in the first, allowing hard contact on five of his seven batters in the inning. Peavy got a gift from Carlos Beltran, as the right fielder dropped an inexplicable bunt that did nothing for the Cards. Peavy managed to work his way around the ugly situation, allowing only two earned runs in the inning, then going on to throw three innings allowing no runs, though  he had loaded the bases in the fourth with no one out before escaping from the jam.

An oddly effective Joe Kelly kept Boston off the board until the fifth when Xander Bogaerts kicked things off with a leadoff triple and eventually trotted home. The sixth saw Daniel Nava plate Shane Victorino to tie things up at two.

The tie was short-lived as the Cards struck back in the home half of the seventh. The pairing of Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow was shaky at best, as the tandem gave up two runs on an infield single, a hit-by-pitch which may or may not have brushed Beltran’s elbow and a Matt Holliday double that Will Middlebrooks should have gotten to in one form or another.

Trailing 4-2, the heart of Boston’s lineup came to life in the eighth. With Jacoby Ellsbury reaching on a single, and Victorino on a HBP, the Cardinals passed on David Ortiz, intentionally walking the bases full to deal with Daniel Nava instead. Nava beat out the double play ball to plate one run and Bogaerts quickly followed with a ball that Pete Kozma couldn’t handle to tie the game at four.

Hindsight is 20-20, and I think John Farrell wishes he had made a change, but the third year manager fell flat instead. Mike Napoli rode the bench in this one, watching in this crucial eighth inning as Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out to preserve the tie. Then, in the top of the ninth, Farrell again left his starting first baseman on the bench in favor of rookie PITCHER Brandon Workman, who promptly sat down on a called strike three.

Then in the bottom of the ninth is when it all went south. After picking up the first out but then allowing a Yadier Molina single, Workman was relieved by Uehara. Uehara promptly gave up an Allen Craig double to left, leaving men on second and third and only one down. Jon Jay was more than happy to oblige, as he hit a grounder to Dustin Pedroia, who threw home to nail Molina at the plate.

But Salty had to try for two, but Middlebrooks missed the throw to third and dove to the ground as the ball sailed into left field. Craig, who had gone into third, picked himself up and in an attempt to make it home tripped over Middlebrooks before lumbering down the line to be tagged by a waiting Saltalmacchia

Only, Craig was safe. Middlebrooks had been called for obstructing the base runner, allowing Craig to score the winning, walk off run.

 

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