The infield fly is a complicated rule, designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup with more than one runner on base and perhaps get an extra out.
No one could ever remember it being applied like this. And, after past postseasons dotted by contested calls, this play will certainly lead to another slew of October cries for more instant replay.
"I was under it," Kozma said. "I should have made the play. I took my eyes off it. I was camped under it."
Added Matheny: "Guys could have made the whole thing a lot easier if we made the play."
Holliday homered in the sixth off Medlen, who had been baseball's most dominant starter over the final two months. The Braves had not lost a start by the diminutive right-hander since May 23, 2010 at Pittsburgh.
The Braves haven't won a playoff round since 2001. Since then, they've gone 0 for 7 — including six decisive losses at Turner Field.
David Ross, starting in place of the slumping, ailing McCann hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Lohse.
On the 1-2 pitch before the homer, Ross asked for time just before Lohse's delivery. Ross then swung and missed, but umpire Jeff Kellog granted the timeout.
That call worked out for the Braves. Ross homered on the next pitch.
Carlos Beltran led off the fourth with the first hit of the game off Medlen, a bloop single to right. Holliday followed with a hard shot to third base. Jones made a nice backhanded scoop before making a wild throw over the head of Uggla, winding up in right field. The error put runners on second and third with no outs.
Allen Craig lined a double off the left-field wall, cutting Atlanta's lead to 2-1. Molina followed with a groundout that brought home another run and moved to Craig over to third. He trotted home on a sacrifice fly by David Freese, the hero of last year's postseason.
The Braves totally fell apart in the seventh, and Freese was right in the middle of things again. He led off with a routine grounder to Uggla, who bobbled it briefly, then unnecessarily rushed his throw to first. It wasn't close, the ball sailing off behind home plate while Freese took second. Daniel Descalso bunted pinch-runner Adron Chambers over to third, and Chad Durbin replaced Medlen.
Durbin got what he wanted from Kozma — a grounder to the drawn-in infield. But Simmons bobbled the ball and hurriedly threw it all the way to the backstop as Chambers slid across head first to make it 5-2. Kozma took second on the miscue, and he came all the way around to score on another ball that didn't get out of the infield. Matt Carpenter's bunt down the first-base line was fielded by the third pitcher of the inning, Jonny Venters, who missed a swipe tag and, with his back turned, failed to notice that Kozma kept right on running to make it 6-2.
"We played to win the game," Molina said. "They played to lose the game."
Medlen, who went 10-1 during the regular season, surrendered just three hits and give runs, only two earned, in 6 1-3 innings.
Jason Motte earned a save by getting the final four outs, taking over after the delay.
NOTES: The Braves outhit the Cardinals 12-6 but left 10 runners on base. St. Louis stranded only two. ... Lohse (16-3) and Medlen had a combined record of 26-4 during the regular season. The cumulative win percentage of .867 was the highest ever for opposing postseason starters, edging the .850 mark of California's John Candelaria (10-2) and Boston's Roger Clemens (24-4) in the 1986 AL championship series.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.