ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals rushed to the plate to congratulate Allen Craig. The Red Sox stormed home to argue with the umpires.
The fans, well, they seemed too startled to know what to do. Who’d ever seen an obstruction call to end a World Series game?
In perhaps the wildest finish imaginable, the rare ruling against third baseman Will Middlebrooks allowed Craig to score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and lifted St. Louis over Boston 5-4 Saturday night for a 2-1 edge.
A walk-off win? More like a trip-off.
“I’m in shock right now,” St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said.
So was most everyone at Busch Stadium after the mad-cap play.
“Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
After an umpire’s call was the crux of Game 1 and a poor Boston throw to third base decided Game 2, the key play on this night combined both elements.
Molina singled with one out in the ninth off losing pitcher Brandon Workman. Craig, just back from a sprained foot, pinch-hit and lined Koji Uehara’s first pitch into left field for a double that put runners on second and third.
With the infield in, Jon Jay hit a grounder to diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He made a sensational stab and threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina.
“I just know I have to dive for that ball. I’m on the ground. There’s nowhere for me to go,” Middlebrooks said.
Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction.