Cardinals fumble away Game 1, and there's no reversing that
OCT 23, 2013 11:58p ET
Allan Craig didn't swing the bat like someone who hadn't played in 49 days.
And Shane Robinson had a hit, made a great catch and turned in a heads-up base-running play.
See, not everything went wrong for the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night.
But very little went right. Start with the score: 8-1 Red Sox, and it felt every bit that lopsided.
In particular, Pete Kozma (two costly errors), David Freese (hit into a rally-snuffing 1-2-3 double play, struck out twice and made an error) and Adam Wainwright (five runs allowed in five innings and embarrassingly let a pop fly drop at this feet) had Fenway Park debuts to forget.
Second-base umpire Dana DeMuth didn't have a good night, either, but his fellow umpires were able to erase his obvious mistake. DeMuth's blown call initially benefited the Cardinals, but after the umpires conferred the call was reversed in Boston's favor. Though the play happened in the first inning, the Cardinals never recovered.
The Red Sox had runners on first and third with one out and the shift was on for lefty hitter David Ortiz. He hit what should have been an inning-ending, double-play grounder to second baseman Matt Carpenter, who made an awkward -- but accurate enough -- toss to shortstop Pete Kozma covering second base. Kozma, however, flubbed the catch but DeMuth still called the runner out at second, ruling that Kozma had dropped the ball while transferring it to his throwing hand.
If the call had stood, the Red Sox would have been left with runners on first and third with two out. But after the umpires met and both managers came out for an argument -- John Farrell before the meeting, Mike Matheny after -- the call was changed and the Red Sox had the bases loaded and still just one out.
The bases didn't stay loaded long as all three scored when the next hitter, Mike Napoli, doubled to left-center field. The way Jon Lester was pitching, a 3-0 lead would have been enough but the Red Sox added on with two more off Wainwright in the second. Kevin Siegrist gave up a two-run homer to Ortiz in the seventh and Carlos Martinez allowed a run in the eighth to complete the Red Sox's rout.
Matheny doesn't often criticize umpires, but he understandably was not pleased that DeMuth's blown call was reversed.
One reason: None of the other umpires could have seen the play as well as DeMuth, who was ideally positioned about 10 feet on the home-plate side of second base.
The main reason: Reversing a judgment call doesn't happen often, especially in the World Series.
"I get trying to get the right call," Matheny said. "I get that. Just a tough one to swallow.
"Basically, the explanation is that's not a play I've ever seen before. I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that have never seen that play before, either, and it's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series."
At least the Cardinals have had some recent practice bouncing back from clunker games. They played almost as poorly in their Game 3 loss to the Dodgers last Monday but came back to win the next night.
They didn't have rookie right-hander Michael Wacha starting that game, either, as he will Thursday night. With a 4-0 record and 0.30 ERA over his past four starts, not much has gone wrong for the Cardinals with him on the hill.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.
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