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.
âI had to dive for that ball. I was pretty inside the base line. I dive for the ball there [and] thereâs really nowhere for me to go. Iâve got to get up and heâs on top of me. There was nowhere for me to go there, so I donât know. Itâs a tough one.â
â[The umpire] said it didnât matter. [Craig] ran into me. Iâm just trying to process it. My mind is still — I donât know. I donât agree with [the call].â
âI just know I have to dive for that ball. Iâm on the ground and thereâs nowhere for me to go.â
When asked if he’d do anything differently: âNo, absolutely not. I had to dive for that ball.â
âYeah, I was there. And like I said, I had to go down for it, it was into the runner. Iâm just not sure how that goes, man.â
âI was excited at first because we got the guy at home, and I wasnât sure why he was calling him safe. Of course, I ran into home plate mad because [Craig] didnât get to home plate. Thatâs what we thought. We thought he was calling him safe. We didnât think there was any obstruction there, obviously.â
âI didnât 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 didnât 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 donât see that it was, but thatâs the way it went.â
â[Home plate umpire] Dana [DeMuth] said he called him safe at first and I didnât see how because I tagged him and he said, âNo, it was on obstruction, obstruction.â Like I said, I didnât see that happen. I didnât 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 donât see how it was.â
âI was real shocked to end the game like that. At the end of the day, if it was obstruction, yeah, youâve got to call it. Itâs part of the game. But like I said, looking at the replay, I donât know the rule book in and out, but to me, it didnât look like it was obstruction.â
âI wasnât expecting [Craig] to go [from second to third], but youâre taught to make the tag and look up. I looked up and saw that he wasnât even halfway there and he hasnât been running great, so I thought I was able to get him and made the throw.â
âThatâs the way it goes. Thatâs part of the game. This isnât 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 thatâs just the way the game goes. It can turn at any point.â
âI donât think weâre going to go home angry. Obviously, weâre mad right now, but youâve got to have that ability to walk out of the clubhouse and forget about it. Youâve got to be able to go home, youâve got families to go to. Itâs a lesson. Itâs a lesson you go through. I think weâll be all right.â
âObviously, itâs disappointing, especially like on a play that happened. But itâs something weâve got to bounce back from and show up ready to play tomorrow.â
âItâs a crying shame for a game of this magnitude to end in the way it did.â
âItâs 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 doesnât seem right.â
âI think you see what this ballclub is made of. Weâre not going to quit. Weâre going keep grinding out, no matter how many times the ball bounces the other way, and weâll show up tomorrow ready to play. But this one, obviously, itâs a tough way to lose. Thatâs just a crying shame the way this one ends tonight. I hope MLB and whoever needs to takes a good long look at whatâs happening here.â
âYeah, Iâm absolutely shocked that a game of this magnitude can be decided like that when, donât you have to be in the base line to — it just doesnât seem right. Like I said, we donât know the rule book hand and foot, but it just didnât seem right there. Thatâs all I can do to just say that. Iâll leave it at that. … Itâs just unbelievable that that happens in the World Series.â
âI 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, heâs out. … Obviously, I was in no position to argue [with the call]. Itâs not a play that you can overturn, unfortunately. Itâs hard to end a game like that, on a call like that. It happened. You canât go back. Weâve got tomorrow, thank God, but still for the three hours or whatever we played, that was rough.â
âIt was just kind of weird and something that doesnât happen too often, and like I said, hopefully it doesnât happen again to us or anyone. I donât 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 thatâs just how it went and sometimes things always donât go your way.â
âThereâs nothing else you can do.â