BOSTON — No need for instant replay. The umpires overturned this blown call on their own.
After Dustin Pedroia was called out on a phantom force play in the first inning of the World Series opener, second base umpire Dana DeMuth was reversed by the other five members of his crew.
Three pitches later, Mike Napoli lined a cutter to the gap in left-center field for a go-ahead three-run double, and the Boston Red Sox coasted to an 8-1 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Nine years after they reversed the Curse, the Red Sox succeeded in reversing a key Series call.
“You rarely see that,” Napoli said before adding, “especially on a stage like this.”
Jacoby Ellsbury had walked leading off the first, and Pedroia had singled with one out. David Ortiz followed with a slow bouncer to second baseman Matt Carpenter that had an outside chance of being turned into an inning-ending double play.
Carpenter made a routine 30-foot backhand flip to Pete Kozma in plenty of time for the out. But as the shortstop approached second base, the ball bounced off the edge of his glove’s webbing and fell to the ground.
DeMuth called Pedroia out on a force, indicating the ball was dropped by Kozma while making the transfer to his throwing hand.
“It was just one of those plays. He gave me a good feed and I just missed it,” Kozma said.
Red Sox manager John Farrell jogged out from the dugout out to argue.
“I think we’re fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but my view is that it wasn’t even that,” he said. “There was really no entry into the glove with the ball.”
All six umpires huddled near shortstop for 30 seconds to discuss the play as Farrell looked on from the infield grass.