BOSTON -- Mike Napoli's big hit, Adam Wainwright's early exit, Boston's dominating 8-1 win in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday -- all of it might never have happened if not for an overturned call in the first inning that advanced a three-run Red Sox rally.
With runners on first and second and one out, David Ortiz hit a bouncer to the right of second base, where Matt Carpenter fielded the ball and flipped it to shortstop Pete Kozma. Though the ball never entered Kozma's glove, instead glancing off the tip of it and falling to the infield, umpire Dana DeMuth called Dustin Pedroia out at second.
That brought Red Sox manager John Farrell out of the dugout, with a request for the six-man umpiring crew to discuss the play. Crew chief John Hirschbeck's squad did convene and overturn the call, resulting in an error for Kozma. Replays clearly showed that Kozma never had possession of the ball, and Kozma latter admitted that he "just missed it."
"I thought from the dugout view, it was pretty clear that the ball just tipped off the fingertips of his glove," Farrell said. "I think we're fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but my view is that it wasn't even that. There was really no entry into the glove with the ball. And to their credit, they did confer. I think the one thing is [that] we just strive to get the call correct."
Moments later, with the bases loaded and one out instead of runners on the corners and two outs, Napoli took advantage with a three-run double to center.
"It's an unfortunate play," said Wainwright, who was charged with two earned runs and one unearned run in the inning. "I think we can get two there -- at the least, one -- but Kozma's been a great shortstop all year, and those things happen. The next guy up, I need to make a better pitch than I made."
Perhaps anticipating the magnitude of the play, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny argued his own viewpoint as soon as original call was overruled. After asking for an explanation, Matheny was told that all five of the other umpires disagreed with DeMuth, which is why they made the change.
"That's not a play I've ever seen before, and I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either," Matheny said. "It's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call; I get that. Tough one to swallow."
DeMuth conceded after the game that he missed the call, saying that he spent too much time focusing on Pedroia's foot sliding into the bag. That forced him to rely on his peripheral vision to watch Kozma's glove, leading him to believe Kozma lost the ball while transferring it to his throwing hand -- not that he never caught it in the first place.
"It's an awful feeling, especially when I'm sure that I had the right call," DeMuth said. "But I've got to be a team here and get the right call, definitely get the right call."
"As a crew, we want to get everything right," Hirschbeck added. "We want to be perfect in our job. Whatever base we are on, wherever we're working, sometimes that doesn't happen, but the ultimate thing is, we want to get the play right."
For Boston, the ultimate thing was that Napoli made the Cards pay, taking advantage of the overturned call to give the Red Sox a significant early lead.
"That's the game," Kozma said. "You give them extra outs, they're a good hitting team. One thing happens, and then you're down, 3-0. That's how fast it works sometimes."