In Game 1, the World Series saw its share of controversy when the umpires held a conference and overturned a call on the field – something extremely rare in baseball. But that was nothing compared to what happened on Saturday. The Cardinals notched a walk-off win after the umpires called obstruction on third baseman Will Middlebrooks, allowing Allen Craig to score the game-winning run. Here are five things you didn’t know about the game.
1. “Obstruction” is defined as an act in which the fielder, “while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” It is “entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball.”
Saturday’s contest was not only the first World Series game to end on such a call, but also the first postseason game to end that way. As obstruction is technically an error on the fielder, Game 3 became only the fourth World Series game ever to end on an error. Red Sox fans are familiar with the last time it happened: when a Mookie Wilson grounder snuck through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 Fall Classic.
The last two walk-offs in the World Series have both been Cardinals victories. Before Saturday, a walk-off last occurred when David Freese homered to beat the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. Though the Cardinals have played in 19 different World Series, those two games mark their only walk-off victories in the Fall Classic.
2. Xander Bogaerts had a nice game for the Red Sox, going 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. In doing so, the 21-year-old infielder became the third-youngest player to triple during the World Series. The other two? Hall-of-Famers Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. Bogaerts also became the youngest player in history to record a game-tying hit in the eighth inning or later of a World Series game, thanks to his RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal.
Overall, Bogaerts is the 11th-youngest player to start a game in the Fall Classic. Of the 10 players to start at a younger age, five are Hall-of-Famers and two – Andruw Jones and Miguel Cabrera – have a shot at the Hall.
3. Allen Craig, who had DH’d for the Cardinals in Games 1 and 2, didn’t get the start on Saturday. However, that allowed him to make some history. Craig came up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, doubling off Koji Uehara and coming around to score the winning run one batter later. He is the first pinch-hitter in over 20 years to record an extra-base hit and score the winning run in the same inning of a World Series game. The last time it happened was in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when Kirk Gibson hit a memorable walk-off homer against Dennis Eckersley.
4. Red Sox manager John Farrell made a questionable call when he let reliever Brandon Workman bat in the ninth inning of a tie game. The move allowed Workman in to pitch in the bottom of the ninth, though he only ended up recording one out. The last time a pitcher was allowed to hit that late in a World Series contest was 1996, when Graeme Lloyd batted in the 10th inning of Game 5. Like Workman, Lloyd was unable to record a hit, but unlike Workman, Lloyd earned the win thanks to a scoreless inning on the mound.
5. History is now on the St. Louis’s side, as 11 of the last 12 teams to take Game 3 of a 1-1 World Series have gone on to win it all. The last team to defy the odds was the 2003 Florida Marlins squad, which dispensed of the Yankees in six games despite dropping Game 3. The Cardinals themselves have been quite successful at closing out their opponents, winning eight of the nine World Series in which they have taken a 2-1 lead.