A controversial obstruction call ruled by umpire Jim Joyce during the third game of the 2013 World Series resulted in the St. Louis Cardinal’s defeat of the Boston Red Sox – making it the first World Series game to end on such a call. A day later, the Red Sox made history by ending the first World Series game with a pickoff.

On Saturday night, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals were tied 4-4 after the Sox had scored two runs to even out the score in the eighth. The Cardinals had runners on second and third and Jon Jay hit a grounder that was fielded by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. After Pedroia threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Yadier Molina was tagged out – then a Saltalamacchia error began the game’s most talked about seconds.

The throw from Saltalamacchia to third baseman Will Middlebrooks was off target and skipped over his glove and into the outfield. As Middlebrooks was stomach-down on the sand, Allen Craig made for home plate. But as Middlebrooks went to lift himself up off the ground, Craig tripped over his legs. Left outfielder, Daniel Nava managed to get the ball to Saltalamacchia in time to tag Craig out, but Joyce ruled an obstruction on Middlebrooks and awarded Craig and the Cardinals a homerun.

An obstruction call has never been called in a World Series game. The last time it was called in a major league baseball game was at a 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays' game.

On Sunday, the Red Sox tied up the series in a first-ever game ending pickoff. The Sox were leading the Cardinals 4-2, and Craig singled to put pinch-runner Kolten Wong on first and Carlos Beltran up at bat. Before the slugger could try his hand at tying the game, reliever Koji Uehara threw the ball to first, where first baseman Mike Napoli tagged Wong out. No World Series game had ever before ended on a pickoff, let alone one not signaled by a catcher or the bench.

The Red Sox and Cardinals will face off tonight for the fifth game of the series tonight at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

– Chelsea Regan

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