ST. LOUIS — Third baseman Will Middlebrooks tripped Allen Craig for a game-ending obstruction call on Jon Jay’s ninth-inning grounder, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a bizarre 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night and a 2-1 World Series lead.
Boston had tied the score with two runs in the eighth, and Yadier Molina singled with one out in the ninth off loser Brandon Workman.
Allen Craig 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 threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina. Saltamacchia threw offline past third, and Middlebrooks, with his stomach on the field, raised both legs and tripped Craig.
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.
St. Louis starter Jake Peavy entered 0-3 in his postseason career, with two of those losses to the Cardinals while with San Diego. Pitching far more effectively from the windup than the stretch, he allowed two runs and six hits in four innings, escaping a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth. Felix Doubront relieved after Mike Carp hit for Peavy.
Peavy immediately got into trouble in a 21-pitch first inning. He ended up giving up two runs on six hits in four innings of work.
St. Louis starter Joe Kelly didn’t fare much better. He also gave up two runs in 5⅓ innings of work, on two hits while striking out six batter.
In the end, the Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal pitched 1⅔ and gave up a hit and struck out two to pick up the victory.