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“Never,” umpire crew chief John Hirschbeck said.

“Never,” third base umpire Jim Joyce said after making the call.

Said Craig: “I didn’t know if I was out or safe or not.”

Craig was awarded home after getting tangled with Middlebrooks. A wild throw set off the sequence, and Middlebrooks was sprawled in the baseline and kicked up his legs as Craig tripped over him.

Running on a banged-up foot, Craig headed home and the throw by left fielder Daniel Nava beat him. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia made the tag in plenty of time and Craig never reached the plate. But umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe, having seen Joyce’s call at third base.

Both teams immediately rushed to the plate. Middlebrooks threw down his glove and joined the Boston argument. The Cardinals came out to celebrate.

The fans took awhile to react, unsure of what they’d just witnessed.

“I think maybe 75 percent of the guys didn’t know what happened,” Cardinals star Carlos Beltran said.

“I wasn’t sure why he was called safe,” Middlebrooks said.

Middlebrooks said any contact was accidental. Doesn’t matter, though. The play is covered by Rule 2.00 and Rule 7.06, and makes it clear that obstruction is called anytime a runner is impeded.

“It does not have to be intent. There does not have to be intent. OK?” Hirschbeck said.

Not OK, Boston pitcher Jake Peavy said.

“It’s a joke,” Peavy groused.

Farrell was more forgiving.

“You know what, the call was made correctly. The umpires _ Jim Joyce, Dana DeMuth _ that call was made as it should have been,” he said Sunday.

Story Continues →