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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.
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.
Jacoby Ellsbury walked leading off the first and Pedroia 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, he allowed the ball to bounce off the edge of his glove's webbing and fall to the ground.
DeMuth called Pedroia out on a force, indicating the ball was dropped by Kozma while he was making the transfer to his throwing hand. Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue.
All six umpires huddled near shortstop to discuss the play, and crew chief John Hirschbeck walked toward the Cardinals dugout and told manager Mike Matheny that Pedroia was being called safe. Matheny then argued to no avail.
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."
Major League Baseball started using video review to assist umpires in 2008, but only to decide whether potential home runs went over fences or were fair balls.
Under rules changes likely to be approved for next season, video will be used for virtually every call other than balls and strikes. Managers would be allowed one challenge over the first six innings and two from the seventh inning on. Officials in New York City would make the final ruling.