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, Dana DeMuth was reversed by the rest of his crew.
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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.
"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 backhand flip to Pete Kozma. 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 came 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 to discuss the play.
"Typically they’re probably going to stand pat with the decision that’s made in the moment," Farrell said.
Kozma believed he established sufficient possession for the out.
"I had enough," he said.
Crew chief John Hirschbeck then walked toward the Cardinals dugout on the third-base side and told Cardinals manager Mike Matheny that Pedroia was being called safe. Matheny argued to no avail.
"That’s not a play I’ve ever seen before," Matheny said. "And I’m pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before either. 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."
Fox played audio of Hirschbeck, who was wearing a microphone, explaining the ruling to Matheny on the field:
"There’s five of us out here, OK? And all five of us agreed 100 percent that it wasn’t a catch," Hirschbeck said. "Our job is to get it right."
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