ST. LOUIS — Allen Craig slid home and it sure looked as though he was out.
A rare obstruction call by an umpire let Craig score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, finishing off a mad-cap play that sent the St. Louis Cardinals over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Saturday night for a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
It was as crazy an ending in a World Series game as anyone had seen, and created a wild scene at home plate. The Cardinals rushed out to congratulate an ailing Craig while the Red Sox rushed to the exact same spot to argue the call.
A walk-off win? More like a trip-off.
“I’m in shock right now,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. “Wow, it’s unbelievable.”
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks tripped Craig after a wild throw got away following Jon Jay’s ninth-inning grounder.
Boston tied the score with two runs in the eighth before Molina singled with one out in the ninth off loser Brandon Workman. Craig, just back from a sprained foot, pinch hit and lined Koji Uehara’s first pitch down the left-field line for a double that put runners on second and third.
With the infield in, 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.
But then Saltalamacchia threw wide of third while trying to get Craig. After the ball got by, Middlebrooks, with his stomach on the field, raised both legs and tripped Craig, slowing him down as he tried to take off for home plate.
Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction, and even though a sliding Craig was tagged by Saltalamacchia at the plate following the throw by left fielder Daniel Nava, plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and then pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called.
“It’s part of the game,” Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday said. “The guy was in his way. ... We’ll take it.”
Craig returned for this Series from a sprained left foot that had sidelined him since early September.