ST. LOUIS -- Had the wind not picked up a little bit, maybe Jon Jay's ninth-inning relay throw home doesn't tail away from Albert Pujols' glove, which perhaps means Ian Kinsler is caught in a rundown between third and home and definitely means Elvis Andrus doesn't advance to second base.
But so it was for the Cardinals in the half-inning that led to their 2-1 defeat in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night.
With St. Louis clinging to a 1-0 lead with none out and Kinsler on second base -- after a bloop single and a stolen base -- Andrus singled to center field. Jay's throw then bounced off Pujols' glove, putting runners on second and third and prompting Tony La Russa to go to his bullpen.
Josh Hamilton notched a sacrifice fly off Arthur Rhodes, and Michael Young hit a sac fly off Lance Lynn to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead they wouldn't give back.
Had the relay throw not gone awry, closer Jason Motte probably would've stayed in the game beyond two batters.
"I don't know exactly what happened there," La Russa said, "but that was an important extra base."
Pujols, who wasn't around to speak with reporters postgame, wound up being charged with an error on the critical play. Jay fielded Andrus' liner on a hop and fired in to Pujols, who was ranging in just a few feet in front of the pitcher's mound. The throw then trickled off his glove, rolled to catcher Yadier Molina, eliminated the double play and put the Cards in a nearly impossible scenario.
"I was just trying to keep it low," Jay said. "I kind of pulled it a little bit, and he wasn't able to cut it. I probably should have made a little better throw there."
Had Pujols fielded it, he may have had a chance on Kinsler, who made a wide turn at third base.
At least Kinsler thinks so.
"I was thinking [about] scoring that run right there, and I rounded that bag pretty far, saw [third-base coach] Dave Anderson pretty late," he said. "It was a little scary, [being] kind of stranded out there."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.