Game 3 of the World Series will be talked about for years.
The Red Sox and Cardinals not only battled for nine innings, but the game ended in the most unlikely way imaginable: with a walk-off obstruction call.
Koji Uehara entered the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning after Yadier Molina singled off Brandon Workman. Pinch-hitter Allen Craig, who just rejoined the Cardinals for the World Series after being sidelined with a foot injury since Sept. 4, greeted Uehara with a double into left field, setting up runners at second and third for Jon Jay.
The Red Sox’ infield moved in, and Jay hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. It looked destined for center field, but Dustin Pedroia made a sensational diving stop before popping up and firing home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to nail Molina. After applying the tag, Saltalamacchia noticed that Craig was streaking for third base, so he attempted to throw out the ailing slugger. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Salty’s throw sailed past Will Middlebrooks.
Things then got really interesting. Middlebrooks dove in an effort to field Saltalamacchia’s throw, so when Craig, who slid into third base, jumped up to continue home, he stumbled over Middlebrooks. Daniel Nava, who was backing up the throw, retrieved the ball in foul territory and threw home to seemingly gun down Craig. The umpires ruled obstruction on Middlebrooks, though, and the play resulted in the Cardinals scoring the winning run.
You’re probably better off watching the video below, if you haven’t seen the play, as it’s almost impossible to describe.
As difficult as it is to describe the end of Game 3, it was even more difficult for the Red Sox to make sense of immediately following the stunning defeat. Below are some quotes from those directly involved with the wild final play.
“I had to dive for that ball. I was pretty inside the base line. I dive for the ball there [and] there’s really nowhere for me to go. I’ve got to get up and he’s on top of me. There was nowhere for me to go there, so I don’t know. It’s a tough one.”
“[The umpire] said it didn’t matter. [Craig] ran into me. I’m just trying to process it. My mind is still — I don’t know. I don’t agree with [the call].”
“I just know I have to dive for that ball. I’m on the ground and there’s nowhere for me to go.”
When asked if he’d do anything differently: “No, absolutely not. I had to dive for that ball.”
“Yeah, I was there. And like I said, I had to go down for it, it was into the runner. I’m just not sure how that goes, man.”
“I was excited at first because we got the guy at home, and I wasn’t sure why he was calling him safe. Of course, I ran into home plate mad because [Craig] didn’t get to home plate. That’s what we thought. We thought he was calling him safe. We didn’t think there was any obstruction there, obviously.”
“I didn’t really see anything happen as far as the obstruction. I just knew Nava was able to back it up and feed me a good throw. When I got [in the clubhouse], obviously it was on TV and from the replay, I didn’t see how it was obstruction. While [Middlebrooks] was laying on the ground, Craig was actually out of the base line trying to jump over him. I just don’t see that it was, but that’s the way it went.”
“[Home plate umpire] Dana [DeMuth] said he called him safe at first and I didn’t see how because I tagged him and he said, ‘No, it was on obstruction, obstruction.’ Like I said, I didn’t see that happen. I didn’t get too far into because I was watching the ball trying to see if Nava was going to be able to get him out at home. But after watching it on the TV, I just don’t see how it was.”
“I was real shocked to end the game like that. At the end of the day, if it was obstruction, yeah, you’ve got to call it. It’s part of the game. But like I said, looking at the replay, I don’t know the rule book in and out, but to me, it didn’t look like it was obstruction.”
“I wasn’t expecting [Craig] to go [from second to third], but you’re taught to make the tag and look up. I looked up and saw that he wasn’t even halfway there and he hasn’t been running great, so I thought I was able to get him and made the throw.”
“That’s the way it goes. That’s part of the game. This isn’t going to be handed to us. This is a good team. They play the game fundamentally right. They find a way to scrap and get on base and make things happen. We were tied 4-4 right there, and that’s just the way the game goes. It can turn at any point.”
“I don’t think we’re going to go home angry. Obviously, we’re mad right now, but you’ve got to have that ability to walk out of the clubhouse and forget about it. You’ve got to be able to go home, you’ve got families to go to. It’s a lesson. It’s a lesson you go through. I think we’ll be all right.”
“Obviously, it’s disappointing, especially like on a play that happened. But it’s something we’ve got to bounce back from and show up ready to play tomorrow.”
“It’s a crying shame for a game of this magnitude to end in the way it did.”
“It’s just a crying shame, like I said, when two teams play as hard as you can possibly play, a hard-fought game, and the second time in three games that a call be made, it just doesn’t seem right.”
“I think you see what this ballclub is made of. We’re not going to quit. We’re going keep grinding out, no matter how many times the ball bounces the other way, and we’ll show up tomorrow ready to play. But this one, obviously, it’s a tough way to lose. That’s just a crying shame the way this one ends tonight. I hope MLB and whoever needs to takes a good long look at what’s happening here.”
“Yeah, I’m absolutely shocked that a game of this magnitude can be decided like that when, don’t you have to be in the base line to — it just doesn’t seem right. Like I said, we don’t know the rule book hand and foot, but it just didn’t seem right there. That’s all I can do to just say that. I’ll leave it at that. … It’s just unbelievable that that happens in the World Series.”
“I turned around, I think [left field umpire] John Hirschbeck was behind me, and I asked him because I saw that the throw beat him and obviously if a throw beats a guy, he’s out. … Obviously, I was in no position to argue [with the call]. It’s not a play that you can overturn, unfortunately. It’s hard to end a game like that, on a call like that. It happened. You can’t go back. We’ve got tomorrow, thank God, but still for the three hours or whatever we played, that was rough.”
“It was just kind of weird and something that doesn’t happen too often, and like I said, hopefully it doesn’t happen again to us or anyone. I don’t think you want to end a game like that. I think if you win a game, you want to win on a walk-off hit or lose it on the other team doing that. But that’s just how it went and sometimes things always don’t go your way.”
“There’s nothing else you can do.”