The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 3 of the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in one of the craziest ways imaginable: an obstruction call.
The Cardinals had opportunities to avoid a potential ninth-inning situation in the 4th inning when they left bases loaded in the 4th inning and no outs. There were opportunities throughout the entire night but the Cards left 12 guys on base.
Matt Carpenter got things started for the Cards in the bottom of the first inning with a single. Carlos Beltran, who won the Roberto Clemente Award before the game, bunted him over to second. Matt Holliday singled and drove in Carpenter for the 1-0 lead. Following a Matt Adams single, Yadier Molina knocked in Holliday on a single.
In the 4th inning, the Cards had the bases loaded with Molina, David Freese, and Jon Jay. With no outs, Pete Kozma strikes out, Joe Kelly pops up, and so does Carpenter.
It would loom in the 5th inning when Mike Carp has a pinch hit force out, scoring Xander Bogaerts.
In the 6th inning, Daniel Nava had a RBI single that scored Shane Victorino.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Carpenter started things off with a single. Beltran was nicked in his elbow pad and awarded first base. Holliday drove both of them home with double, advancing to 3rd on the throw, for a 4-2 lead.
With both Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal pitching, Boston tied things up in the 8th inning with 2 more runs. In the bottom of the inning, the Cards had Kolten Wong and Beltran on base with Holliday batting but he flied out to left.
After Rosenthal got through the 9th inning, Molina singled to right. Allen Craig, who was hitting for Rosenthal, doubled.
It was after that where things got interesting. With one out, Jon Jay reached on a fielder’s choice. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia through the ball home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Molina was out at home. However, Salty threw the ball to Will Middlebrooks to try and get Craig out at third but it was thrown away. Craig tripped over Middlebrooks and Jim Joyce called interference so Craig advanced home and was ruled safe.
It was a crazy way to end the game but the umpires made the obstruction, which is defined by MLB Rules 2.00 as:
OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered in the act of fielding a ball. It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the act of fielding the ball. For example: If an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.
All that aside, of the last 12 teams to win Game 3 in series that started with a 1-1 split, the winner has gone on to take the series.