ST. LOUIS — There is usually a 50-50 split between euphoria and despair when a World Series game ends in the final at-bat, with one team celebrating and the other walking to its dugout, dejected. But the events of Saturday night at Busch Stadium were far more complex, not only because the game ended on a correct-but-still-strange obstruction call, but also because the winning run was scored by Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals, who reacted to the victory by lying on his stomach in pain.
“It was a good night,” Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny said before Sunday’s Game 4. “But there was a lot to process.”
The Cardinals’ 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox still merited discussion from all kinds of angles the day after, not the least of which was the effort of Craig, whose one-out double off Boston closer Koji Uehara set up the final play. Craig missed six weeks, including the first two rounds of the playoffs, with a foot injury, and only now is he working his way back to full speed.
So the play was particularly delicate from Craig’s perspective. Matheny said Craig underwent X-rays on his foot, and they came back negative.
“Everything came back clean,” Matheny said. “He’ll be ready to go if we need him.”
Craig pinch-hit in the ninth inning and singled to deep right.
Farrell said Sunday that he should have double-switched when Saltalamacchia made the last out of the eighth inning — inserting backup catcher David Ross into the ninth spot in the lineup and reliever Brandon Workman into the seventh hole, where Saltalamacchia hit. That would have prevented Workman from hitting against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, who struck him out on three pitches.
But once he missed that opportunity, Farrell said he did not regret letting Workman hit even though he had the dangerous Mike Napoli available to pinch-hit because he needed to get two innings of work from Workman and Uehara.
“If we get through the inning, I think Rosenthal is obviously already out of the game,” Farrell said. “And knowing Koji is going out for one more inning on our side, I feel like we’re maybe in a little bit more of an advantageous spot. It didn’t work out.”