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Obstruction call gives Cardinals 5-4 win in Game 3

Saturday, 26 October 2013 23:57 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Allen Craig slid home and it sure looked as though he was out.

Didn't matter.

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. After an awkward slide on the final play, he hobbled off the field in apparent discomfort.

The Red Sox scored twice in the eighth inning to tie it 4-all. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this postseason. Both runners moved up on Pedroia's groundout, and David Ortiz was intentionally walked.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to hard-throwing closer Trevor Rosenthal with the bases loaded, hoping for a five-out save from a rookie who has looked almost untouchable this October. But the Red Sox pushed two runs across.

Daniel Nava drove in one with a short-hop grounder that was smothered by second baseman Kolten Wong, who had just entered on defense in a double-switch.

Wong went to second for the forceout, but Nava beat the relay and Ellsbury scored to make it 4-3. Xander Bogaerts tied it when he chopped a single up the middle.

Brandon Workman jammed Holliday and retired the slugger on a routine fly with two on to end the bottom of the eighth. That sent the game to the ninth tied at 4.

Holliday's two-run double puts the Cardinals on top 4-2 in the seventh.

It was a tough inning for Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow. Matt Carpenter reached safely when he checked his swing on an infield single to shortstop. Carlos Beltran was grazed on the elbow pad by a pitch - making no effort to get out of the way.

Beltran, in fact, almost appeared to stick his elbow out just a tiny bit to make sure the ball made contact.

Junichi Tazawa came on and Holliday pulled a grounder past Middlebrooks at third. The ball kicked into the left-field corner and Holliday went all the way to third on the throw to the plate.

Tazawa then got a couple of strikeouts and prevented further damage.

It was Middlebrooks' first inning in the field. He entered as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh and took over at third base in the bottom half.

That shifted Bogaerts to shortstop - and neither one was able to make the difficult defensive play Boston needed in that inning.

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly, one of the few major league pitchers to wear glasses on the mound, set down his first nine batters. The Red Sox seemed to see him better the next time around in coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

Bogaerts opened the fifth with a triple that banged-up right fielder Beltran couldn't quite reach. The rookie later scored on a grounder by pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

Slumping Shane Victorino drew a leadoff walk from Kelly in the sixth and wound up scoring the tying run. Ortiz grounded a single off lefty reliever Randy Choate, and Nava greeted Seth Maness with an RBI single that made it 2-all.

Their fielding woes from Game 1 far behind them, the slick-fielding Cardinals made several sharp plays. Kelly barehanded a one-hopper, Carpenter threw out a runner from his knees up the middle and third baseman David Freese backhanded a line drive.

St. Louis quickly broke ahead, scoring in the first inning for the first time this October on RBI singles by Holliday and Molina. After the Cardinals got three hits in a span of four pitches, Red Sox reliever Felix Doubront began heating up in a hurry before Jake Peavy settled down.

Peavy wriggled out of bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth to keep the Cardinals' lead at 2-0. He got some help, too, from St. Louis third base coach Jose Oquendo.

With runners on first and second, Jon Jay hit a sharp single to center. The Red Sox were conceding a run and ready to let Molina score from second, but Oquendo held up the slow-footed catcher.

Peavy actually lowered his career postseason ERA by more than a full run, down to 9.27 in five winless starts.

A day before Kelly and Peavy faced each other, they sounded totally different.

Kelly kidded about his pregame preparation: He stays up all night taking on his Twitter followers, shooting away in "Call of Duty," the popular first-person war video game.

Peavy, meanwhile, was already ramped up and ready to go.

"This is what I've lived for my whole life," he said Friday. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, physically, mentally."

NOTES: Cardinals Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Red Schoendienst took part in the first-ball festivities, with fan favorite Willie McGee tossing the pitch. ... At 21, Bogaerts became the third-youngest player to hit a triple in a World Series. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle did it at 20. ... Molina has a six-game hitting streak in World Series play. ... The family of late umpire Wally Bell was in the stands. Bell died at 48 this month, and the six-man crew is wearing patches to honor him. Bell's first plate job in the World Series was at this ballpark in 2006.

Steen's 2 goals lead Blues over Predators 6-1

Saturday, 26 October 2013 22:38 Published in Sports

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored two goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

T.J. Oshie, Jaden Schwartz, Derek Roy and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Blues, who had lost three of four.

Nick Spaling scored for Nashville, which has lost two of three as it sets out on a season-long seven-game road trip.

St. Louis has won four straight in Nashville for the first time.

Steen scored the game's first goal at 5:27 of the opening period.

With the Blues on a power play, Steen beat Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton with a wrist shot from above the left faceoff dot. A screen from teammate Chris Stewart helped Steen score his ninth of the season.

Oshie and Schwartz scored 4:02 apart in the second period to send the Blues into the second intermission up 3-0.

Spaling got the Predators on the board with a short-handed goal less than a minute into the third when he got his first goal of the season on breakaway, beating St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak on the stick side.

The Blues put the game out of reach after Steen scored his second of the game at 4:37 and Roy followed at 7:48.

Steen has 10 goals so far this season after getting just eight in 40 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Hutton was lifted following Roy's goal. He was replaced by Magnus Hellberg, who was recalled Thursday after No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne had surgery to clear up an infection in the hip that he had surgically repaired in the offseason.

Jay Bouwmeester, David Backes, and Vladimir Tarasenko each had two assists for the Blues.

NOTES: Derek Roy played in his 600th career NHL game. . Blues LW Magnus Paajarvi sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game. . Before Saturday, Nashville had gone seven games without allowing a power-play goal.

No. 20 S Carolina rallies past No. 5 Mizzou in OT

Saturday, 26 October 2013 22:36 Published in Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Connor Shaw came off the bench in the second half to lead a 17-point rally, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Elliott Fry kicked the go-ahead field goal in the second overtime to help No. 20 South Carolina stun No. 5 Missouri 27-24 on Saturday night.

After Fry put the Gamecocks ahead from 40 yards out, Missouri's Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard attempt off the left goal post.

Missouri (7-1, 3-1) could have all but locked up the SEC East with a victory, instead South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) moves to within one game of the Tigers for the division lead, with home games against Mississippi State and Florida remaining.

A sprain left knee kept Shaw from starting, but he entered the game in the third quarter and helped the Gamecocks score the final 17 points of regulation. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the Gamecocks' first overtime to match the Tigers' Marcus Murphy's 1-yard scamper.

Shaw engineered fourth-quarter scoring drives of 65, 69 and 63 yards, and the Gamecocks knotted the score at 17 on a two-yard reception by Nick Jones with 42 seconds remaining. Ellington scored his first touchdown on a 6-yard catch with 12:13 remaining, and Elliott Fry added a 20-yard field goal with 5:03 left.

Mike Davis caught three screen passes on South Carolina's final scoring drive in regulation, partly making up for two fumbles in the first half. The Gamecocks turned the ball over three consecutive times in the second quarter, helping Missouri take a 14-0 halftime lead.

Davis, who led the conference with 125.6 rushing yards per game entering the night, committed his first miscue at the Missouri 29-yard line with 12:30 remaining in the half, and his second halted a 71-yard drive at the Tigers' 2-yard line with 5:46 left. He finished the night with 51 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards while backup Shon Carson added 27 on the ground and 14 through the air.

Davis' second fumble set the stage for a 96-yard touchdown pass from Mauk to L'Damian Washington on Missouri's ensuing drive. Two yards deep in his own end zone, Mauk found Washington streaking toward the middle of the field for an easy first down, and then the receiver eluded two tackles at his 45-yard line before being untouched the rest of the way. The pass was Missouri's longest since a 98-yarder from Pete Woods to Joe Stewart at Nebraska in 1976.

Mauk struggled out of the gate, throwing a pass dropped by defender Sharrod Golightly and then an interception to Kaiwan Lewis, a far cry from the 41-yard pass and 20-yard touchdown toss he threw in his opening attempts last week in a 36-17 win against Florida. But Mauk then completed three of his next four to set up Missouri's first touchdown, an 11-yard scamper by Murphy with 1:23 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers added a 27-yard field goal by Baggett with 6:46 left in the third quarter before he missed a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter wide left.

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