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Cardinals beat Atlanta thanks to Jones' error and controversial call
A disputed infield-fly call by the umpires resulted in fans throwing trash on the field and hampered a potential Braves rally as St. Louis advanced.
ATLANTA — Forget wild card — this one was just plain wild.
Chipper Jones played his final game. The Atlanta fans turned Turner Field into a trash heap after a disputed infield fly. And the St. Louis Cardinals still managed another postseason triumph.
The Cardinals rallied from an early deficit, taking advantage of three Atlanta throwing errors — the most crucial of them by Jones — to beat the Braves 6-3 in a winner-take-all wild-card playoff Friday.
In the eighth inning an irate crowd littered the field to protest an umpiring decision that went against the Braves. Trailing by three, Atlanta thought it had the bases loaded with one out after the ball fell between two fielders.
But left-field umpire Sam Holbrook called Andrelton Simmons out under the infield-fly rule — even though the ball landed at least 50 feet beyond the dirt.
When the sellout crowd of 52,631 realized what had happened, they littered the field with beer cups, popcorn holders and other debris. The game was halted for 19 minutes while workers cleaned it up.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was asked if he'd ever seen anything like it.
"Not in the United States," he said.
Atlanta's protest to MLB was denied, so St. Louis advanced to face Washington in the best-of-five division round, beginning Sunday at Busch Stadium.
So ended the career of the 40-year-old Jones.
He managed an infield hit in his final at-bat, but in the fourth, his error cost his team a 2-0 lead. He fielded Matt Holliday's hard grounder to third, but his throw to second base flew over the head of Dan Uggla, rolling into right field. The Cardinals wound up scoring three runs and led the rest of the way.
"That one play (the infield-fly call) didn't cost us the game. Three errors cost us the game," Jones said. "We just dug ourselves too big a hole."
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|Boggs H, 1||2/3||1||0||0||1||0||0.00|
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