ST. LOUIS – An instant classic Saturday night at Busch Stadium climaxed with one of the worst ways imaginable to lose a World Series game for the Boston Red Sox.
With the game tied at four in the bottom of the ninth and runners on second and third with one out, Jon Jay hit a liner to second base where Dustin Pedroia made a diving stop and fired home to get Yadier Molina at the plate. With Allen Craig trying to advance to third, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw went past the diving Will Middlebrooks behind third base. Craig then ran home where left fielder Daniel Nava's throw beat Craig to the plate, but it didn't matter because third base umpire Jim Joyce ruled fielder's interference on Middlebrooks for not allowing Craig to get up right away, which in turn gave Craig home plate and the Cardinals the walk-off 5-4 win. The Cardinals now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“What he told me was ‘you have to get out of the way,'" Middlebrooks said of Joyce. "I told him I can’t. There was literally no way I could get out of the way right there. I’m diving for that ball and then I am going to get up and he is going over me."
Added manager John Farrell: "Well, he was awarded home plate after the obstruction call at third base. Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance when Will 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."
Brandon Workman (loss) started the ninth inning, and after allowing a single to Molina he was replaced by Koji Uehara who then gave up the double and then the grounder which ended the game.
After allowing two runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning, the Red Sox wouldn't go down without a fight as they scored two runs of their own in the eighth. After loading the bases, closer Trevor Rosenthal (win) came in and allowed an RBI fielder's choice to Nava and then with two outs 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts hit a seeing-eye single up the middle just out of the reach of shortstop Pete Kozma, scoring Shane Victorino to tie the game at four.
The Cardinals obtained that lead in the seventh inning as with the game tied at two the first two runners reached against reliever Craig Breslow – an infield single from Matt Carpenter and a Carlos Beltran walk (HBP). Farrell then called on Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday and on the third pitch Holliday ripped a two-run triple down the left field line to give the Cardinals the lead at 4-2.
It wasn't the first Cardinals' lead of the game as they wasted no time getting to Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, scoring twice in the first inning. They got their first run on an RBI single from Holliday, who drove in lead-off hitter Matt Carpenter. Two batters later, Molina singled to score Holliday for the Cardinals' second run.
Peavy then settled down, retiring the next eight hitters before running into trouble in the fourth as he loaded the bases with no one out. He then retired the next three hitters (8-9-1) in succession to get out of the inning. In all, Peavy went four innings allowing the two runs on six hits while striking out four.
"I though Jake gave us everything he had," Farrell said. "They came out, they swung the bat right out of the chute against him for the four base hits in the first inning. In the bases loaded nobody out situation in the fourth he made a number of big pitches to get out of it without any additional runs give up."
Riding the momentum from the fourth inning, the Red Sox got a run back in the fifth. Bogaerts led the inning off with a single, and then Saltalamacchia worked a walk. After a Stephen Drew strikeout - hitting for Peavy - Mike Carp hit an RBI groundout, plating the first Red Sox run. Jacoby Ellsbury then struck out to end the inning and the threat.
The Red Sox tied the game at two in the sixth as Victorino walked to begin the inning and went to third on a single from Ortiz off of Randy Choate when starter Joe Kelly was lifted from the game. Following the single, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to his bullpen and called on right-hander Seth Maness, which kept Nava hitting from the left-side, which he prefers, and on-cue he singled to left, knotting the game at 2. Bogaerts then grounded into a double play, ending the inning.
Kelly pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs while striking out six. The lone bright spot for the Boston bullpen was Felix Doubront pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Peavy.
Game 4 will be played Sunday night (8:15, FOX) as Clay Buchholz will be opposed by Lance Lynn as the Red Sox will look to avoid going down 3-1 in the series.
What they'll be saying: Obviously the talk of the game will be the final play in which the game was decided on fielder's interference.
"I am absolutely shocked that a game of this magnitude could be decided like that," Peavy said.
It's obviously a tough one to take, but the Red Sox will have to put it behind them and be ready to play Sunday night ... The Sox had plenty of chances to score multiple run and not have it come down to a play like that as they went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving six runners on base. Also, their middle relief which was so dependable prior to Game 2 of the World Series, had another rough go as after Doubront pitched the fifth and sixth innings, the bullpen allowed three runs and couldn't keep the game tied. It will certainly be an uphill climb for the Red Sox now, as the team that has won Game 3 has gone on to win the World Series four straight and 11 of the last 12 times.