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Cardinals vs. Braves: Infield fly rule riot overshadows St. Louis win

Until the eighth inning, it looked like a somewhat sloppy, impressively tight postseason game. Then the infield fly rule caused its first-ever riot. The St. Louis Cardinals had a 6-3 lead over the Atlanta Braves, but Mitchell Boggs got in trouble with his command and his defense, and when Andrelton Simmons slipped a fly ball between Matt Holliday and Pete Kozma it looked like he'd have to deal with the bases loaded and one out.

Instead, the left field ump called the infield fly rule. Fans at Turner Field erupted, throwing garbage onto the field—grazing players and umpires—and forcing an 18-minute delay as on-field personnel escaped into the dugout. Things cleared, eventually, and after a disoriented start Jason Motte struck out Michael Bourn on a full-count fastball to end a disastrous eighth inning for Major League Baseball.

The first five outs of the ninth inning was anticlimactic, by comparison. Unhittable Craig Kimbrel was unhittable, and then Motte rolled through the first two batters he faced, before Chipper Jones hit a disputed infield single to a jump-throwing Daniel Descalso. Freddie Freeman hit a ground-rule double to put the tying run at the plate again, in the person of Dan Uggla. Uggla fouled a 98 mile-per-hour fastball straight back on the first pitch before grounding out to Descalso. Under a sky filled with trash and boos, the Cardinals sprinted off the field and toward the NLDS.

But right now the outcome of the game—played under protest, still pending—is almost secondary to the events leading up to it.