“Basically, the explanation is 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 they’re trying to get the right call, I get that. Tough one to swallow,” he said.
DeMuth said he never actually saw Kozma drop the ball.
“My vision was on the foot. And when I was coming up, all I could see was a hand coming out and the ball on the ground. All right? So I was assuming,” DeMuth told a pool reporter.
There was no dispute, however, that the umpires properly ruled Kozma had not caught a soft toss from second baseman Matt Carpenter on a potential forceout. That’s what crew chief John Hirschbeck told Matheny.
“I just explained to him ... that five of us were 100 percent sure,” Hirschbeck said. “Our job is to get the play right. And that’s what we did.”
“I said, ‘I know you are not happy with it, that it went against you, but you have to understand that the play is correct,’ “ he said.
The normally slick-fielding Cardinals looked sloppy at every turn. Wainwright bounced a pickoff throw, Molina let a pitch trickle off his mitt, center fielder Shane Robinson bobbled the carom on Napoli’s double and there was a wild pitch.
The Cardinal Way? More like, no way.
“We had a wakeup call. That is not the kind of team that we’ve been all season,” Matheny said. “And they’re frustrated. I’m sure embarrassed to a point.”
Game 2 is Thursday night, with 22-year-old rookie sensation Michael Wacha starting for St. Louis against John Lackey. Wacha is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA this postseason.