Los Angeles, Oct 27 (EFE).-The Los Angeles Dodgers have reduced the Boston Red Sox’s World Series lead to two games to one with a 3-2 Game 3 victory in 18 innings, a contest that ended in the wee hours of Saturday and was the longest in the history of baseball’s fall classic by both time and innings.
Infielder Max Muncy was the hero of the tense battle at Dodger Stadium, hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 18th off Red Sox reliever Nathan Eovaldi to end the seven-hour, 20-minute contest.
Los Angeles got a home run in the bottom of the third off the bat of left fielder Joc Pederson and an outstanding night from starter Walker Buehler, who threw the first pitch of the game late Friday afternoon and dominated the Red Sox’s hitters for seven innings before exiting the game due to a high pitch count with a 1-0 lead.
In desperate need of a win to avoid a three-games-to-none hole, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to insert closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning instead of waiting until the ninth.
The move backfired though when outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. connected on a solo home run to tie the game in the top of the eighth and silence the Los Angeles crowd.
The Red Sox then went ahead 2-1 in the top of the 13th inning when second baseman/outfielder Brock Holt walked, stole second base and then scored on a throwing error by Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander.
In the bottom of that same inning, Boston was one out away from taking a lead that no World Series team has ever squandered, but the visitors then made a costly error of their own with a runner on base and two outs.
On the play, second baseman Ian Kinsler ranged to his right to make a good play on a sharp ground ball up the middle by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, but his off-balance throw was way off the mark and allowed Muncy to score from second base to tie the game at 2-2.
Muncy then appeared to hit a game-winning home run two innings later, but his blast to right field off Eovaldi hooked just wide of the foul pole.
Another deep drive by that same slugger against the same pitcher in the bottom of 18th, however, finally brought the game to a dramatic close.
“I had the last out in my glove and we ended up playing however many innings, 18 innings, 19 innings, whatever,” Kinsler, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the 10th, was quoted as saying afterward on Major League Baseball’s official Web site.
“I had an opportunity to end the game right there and it didn’t happen.”
Dodgers reliever Alex Wood was credited with the win after keeping the Red Sox scoreless in the top of the 18th inning.
Eovaldi, who entered the game in the 12th inning and kept the Dodgers scoreless for five innings, was credited with the loss after allowing the walk-off home run.
Game 4 and Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday and Sunday, respectively, also at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
If necessary, a Game 6 and possibly a deciding Game 7 would be played Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, at Fenway Park in Boston.