Disputed call overshadows Cardinals wild-card playoff win
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
ATLANTA — David Freese and the St. Louis Cardinals rediscovered their postseason touch. Chipper Jones and the Braves kept throwing the ball away. And the Atlanta fans turned Turner Field into a trash heap.
They said anything could happen in baseball's first wild-card playoff.
Boy, did it ever.
In a game protested by the Braves, Matt Holliday homered, and the defending World Series champion Cardinals took advantage of three Atlanta throwing errors — the most crucial of them by the retiring Jones — to take the winner-take-all playoff 6-3 on Friday.
MLB executive Joe Torre said the protest had been denied. St. Louis advanced to face Washington in the best-of-five division round, beginning Sunday at Busch Stadium.
The Braves are done for this season, the recipients of another heartbreaking loss in the playoffs.
The 40-year-old Jones is all done, period. He managed an infield hit in his final at-bat but threw away a double play ball in the fourth, which led to a three-run inning that wiped out Atlanta's early 2-0 lead behind Kris Medlen.
“Ultimately, I feel I'm the one to blame,” Jones said. “That should have been a tailor-made double play.”
But this one-and-done game will be remembered for the eighth, when a disputed call on a fly ball that dropped in short left field cost the Braves a chance at extending Jones' career.
The Braves thought they had the bases loaded with one out after the ball dropped between two fielders, who appeared to get mixed up over who had called for it. But left-field umpire Sam Holbrook called Andrelton Simmons out under the infield fly rule — even though the ball landed at least 50 feet beyond the dirt.
When the fans realized what had happened, they littered the field, leading to a 19-minute delay.
“It was scary at first,” St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said. “I've never seen that before.”
When play finally resumed, Brian McCann walked, but Michael Bourn struck out to end the threat. Dan Uggla grounded out with two aboard in the ninth to end it.
The infield fly is a complicated rule, designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup with more than one runner on base and perhaps get an extra out. No one could ever remember it being applied like this. And, after past postseasons dotted by contested calls, this play will certainly another slew of October cries for more instant replay.
When Simmons popped one into short left field, rookie shortstop Pete Kozma drifted out, throwing up his hand like he had it. Then, with left fielder Holliday lurking a few feet away, Kozma suddenly veered away and the ball fell safely.
Jones refused to pin this loss on the umps.
“That one play didn't cost us the game. Three errors cost us the game,” he said. “We just dug ourselves too big a hole.”
Holliday homered in the sixth off Kris Medlen, who had been baseball's most dominant starter over the final two months.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Biertempfel: Kendall’s book offers inside look at life in majors
- Davis embraces new opportunity with Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Catcher Stewart activated; Sanchez demoted
- Bucco Blog: Travis Sawchik
- Pirates minor league notebook: Mt. Lebanon grad keeping steady approach
- Stats Corner: Pirates’ Volquez cruising through innings
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional
- Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
- Pirates should exploit free-swinging Brewers