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Cardinals still processing chaotic win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  October 27, 2013 04:56 PM

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ST. LOUIS A day later, the Cardinals were still trying to wrap their heads around the chaotic final moments of their World Series Game 3 win over the Red Sox.

"I think our fans didn't even know what to do," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We were wanting to celebrate, but we see a guy laying there and it's all confusing. And we see the umpires come together, and that didn't work out real good for us last time.

"We're all kind of cautiously celebrating, and then we get inside and actually we got inside the clubhouse, and it was still kind of that somber mood. And Chris Carpenter yelled out real loud, "Hey, boys, we just won a World Series game." So that changed it a little bit."

The obstruction call that gave Allen Craig the deciding run in the Cardinals 5-4 win was confusing on all sides.

From the dugout, the Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was trying to put things together piece-meal.

One minute, Dustin Pedroia was making a ridiculous diving play on a Jon Jay ground ball and gunning down Yadier Molina at the plate. The next, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was firing a wild throw that missed Will Middlebrooks and bounced into foul territory on the third base side.

After getting tangled up at third, Craig was crawling over Middlebrooks to try to get to the plate. Daniel Nava came up with the ball and fired it to the plate.

"The funny thing was I didn't see him throw it away," Wainwright said. "I saw Pedroia make the great play, throw it home and got Yadier out, and I thought that was the end of it, so I turned my back. All of a sudden people started running out on the field, and so I didn't know what happened, but I was running out on the field, too.

"I got about halfway out there and saw Craig out by a couple of feet, and started tiptoeing backward back into the dugout, and they called him safe, and I thought, 'Wow, I think I've just witnessed the worst call in the history of the game at home plate, only to find out there was obstruction. So there were four or five times I didn't know what the heck was going on."

The Red Sox were dazed and Wainwright said he completely understood.

"As a baseball fan, you hate to see a game end like that," Wainwright said. "Obviously I'm on the Cardinals, so I'm fortunate the rule is the way it is. And you hate to say it, but he impeded the process of running home. But I totally understand why Red Sox players would be upset about that. That is just a horrible way to lose a baseball game, no question about it, especially after such a great play by Dustin at second."

Craig had X-rays and is still sore, but he will be available again to pinch-hit.

"We're going to wait and see how he feels when he gets out here," Matheny said. "He's been working with the doctors to try to get everything loose again. The defensive work is really kind of secondary to have him available to come in and do what he did last night. Yesterday he looked very good going home to second. He ran extremely well, as good as we've seen him. Didn't think that we were going to do much more running, but that changed quickly."

More Cardinals notes:

After giving up five runs (three earned) in as many innings in Game 1, Wainwright described his stuff as "garbage."

But when he takes the mound Monday for Game 5, it's possible that the Cardinals could have a chance to clinch the series and it's an opportunity he's looking forward to.

"I would love for that situation to happen," he said. "I would love to be able to go out there and pitch in a potentially clinching game. Nothing would make me more happy. But I know we have a tough game tonight ahead."

The five runs were the second-most he's allowed in 17 playoff appearances going back to 2006, but he's putting it behind him.

"It's a pretty clean slate," Wainwright said. "I honestly don't know why my mechanics were as bad as they were, my delivery was off as much as it was. But I feel like I've put a lot of good reps in in front of the mirror, and watching film and feeling my delivery again, learning the basics all over again.

"I feel like I've made a lot of good adjustments to be ready for this next game to throw some quality pitches. I threw maybe four or five quality pitches the whole time I was pitching. Luckily to come away with just a few runs; it could have been ten instead of five."

Matheny tinkered slightly with the lineup, hitting Jon Jay sixth, David Freese seventh and Daniel Descalso eighth. The trio is a combined 3 for 22 with five strikeouts.

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