The Cardinals rushed to the plate to congratulate Allen Craig. The Red Sox stormed home to argue with the umpires. The fans seemed too startled to know what to do. 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 last night for a 2-1 edge. "Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
How it went down: 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 Yadier Molina. But then Saltalamacchia threw wide of third trying to get Craig. The ball glanced off Middlebrooks' glove and Craig's body, caroming into foul territory. After the ball got by, Middlebrooks, lying on his stomach, raised both legs and tripped Craig, slowing him as he tried to take off for home. Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction. Craig kept scrambling. Left fielder Daniel Nava retrieved the ball and made a strong throw home, where Saltalamacchia tagged a sliding Craig. But plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called. "I was excited at first because we nailed the guy at home. I wasn't sure why he was called safe," Middlebrooks said. The AP has the MLB's obstruction rule here.