The Boston Red Sox will send David Price to the mound with a chance to clinch their fourth World Series title in 15 years when they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 5 on Sunday. The Red Sox rebounded from a demoralizing 18-inning loss and battled back from a four-run deficit in Game 4 for an inspiring 9-6 victory that put them on the brink of their first championship since 2013.
“This team has a lot of fight and it was great to see how we responded,” Boston’s Steve Pearce, who tied the game with a solo homer off Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning and broke it open with a three-run double in the ninth, said during a television interview. Pearce, Rafael Devers and Mitch Moreland had the biggest hits in Game 4 for the Red Sox, and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will try to cool off Boston’s bats when he takes the mound on Sunday as the Dodgers attempt to stay alive and send the series back to Fenway Park. Yasiel Puig launched a three-run homer to give Los Angeles a 4-0 lead after six innings on Saturday, but its normally reliable bullpen imploded to put their championship dreams on life support. “We’re in a situation where it’s do or die. Now we have to bow are necks and win a game,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “It’s one at a time. … Our guys are not done. We’ve got our best going (Sunday).”
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (2-1, 4.26 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 3.91)
Price threw 13 pitches in relief during Friday’s Game 3 and was up in the bullpen Saturday, but manager Alex Cora decided to go with the former Cy Young Award winner and save ace Chris Sale for Game 6 if needed. Price has been outstanding in his last two starts of the postseason, throwing six scoreless innings against Houston to end the American League Championship Series and limiting the Dodgers to two runs and three hits over six frames in Game 2. Manny Machado has hit five career homers against Price and went 1-for-3 against him on Wednesday.
Kershaw has registered two brilliant performances in the postseason at home, but he did not fare well in Game 1 on Tuesday in Boston as he permitted five runs on seven hits and three walks in four frames. The 30-year-old Texan has given up one run on five hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts in 15 innings at Los Angeles during the playoffs. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each recorded two hits in Game 1 against Kershaw, who has served up one homer in 23 postseason innings after giving up 17 in 26 games during the regular season.
1. Los Angeles 3B Justin Turner recorded three hits and a walk Saturday and is 8-for-21 in the World Series.
2. Moreland was 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in the series before his pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning on Saturday.
3. The Red Sox are 6-1 while outscoring opponents 51-22 on the road this postseason.
LOS ANGELES — Knowing their struggles on offense could not — would not — continue, the Boston Red Sox remained patient Saturday even as the walls started to close in around them.
Three innings away from watching the Los Angeles Dodgers even the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox finally found the gear they needed after nearly 25 innings of slumber.
Down four runs with nine outs remaining, the Red Sox scored nine times and fashioned a 9-6 win over the Dodgers to move one victory away from their fourth World Series title since 2004. Game 5 is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
“It’s crazy,” the Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez said. “You kind of see the offensive halt for 20-something innings or however long it was. Then you see (the Dodgers) come out and score a couple of runs and sometimes that right there can spark an offense. I think that’s kind of what did it. It kind of got everything going, and you saw everybody loosen up and just try to go out there and compete again.”
As the Red Sox’s onslaught began, some passionate words of encouragement from ace left-hander Chris Sale were caught on camera as well.
Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce hit home runs, and Rafael Devers had a go-ahead single in a five-run ninth inning. It was quick and devastating and made it appear as if Friday’s 18-inning logjam and Saturday’s six innings of futility never happened.
“I mean, yeah, we were scuffling; we were scuffling bad,” Red Sox infielder Brock Holt said. “And it kind of took a big hit from one of our guys to get it going and obviously that was Mitch Moreland. And after he did that, I think everyone kind of loosened up and we started putting together good at-bats. And thankfully we did.”
The Dodgers appeared to be on their way to getting even in the series with four runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Red Sox answered quickly, though, when Moreland crushed a three-run home run in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter.
The homer came off Dodgers right-hander Ryan Madson, who has allowed all seven of his inherited runners in the series to score. The Dodgers were intent on not using right-hander Pedro Baez and left-hander Julio Urias out of the bullpen.
“In that spot right there, considering who you have left in the pen, you have to make a decision,” manager Dave Roberts said. “And I felt that Ryan still had a very good chance to get him out.”
Using the same strategy that nearly haunted them in Game 3 on Friday, the Dodgers called on closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning. And for the second consecutive game, the Red Sox delivered a game-tying home run, this one from Pearce to even the score 4-4.
The Red Sox went ahead for good in the ninth inning. Holt hit a one-out double off reliever Dylan Floro, and pinch hitter Devers followed with an RBI single for a 5-4 lead. The Red Sox put the game out of reach with Pearce’s three-run double off Kenta Maeda, followed by Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single.
Los Angeles scored two in the bottom of the ninth off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel on an Enrique Hernandez home run but was unable to get any closer.
“It is a tough loss,” Roberts said. “Any loss in a World Series is difficult, obviously, but now we’re in a situation where we’re do or die. To their credit, they fought back and won a baseball game. So now it’s kind of we’ve just got to bow our necks and try to win a baseball game and it’s one day at a time.”
The Dodgers had been 54-0 this season, including playoffs, when holding a four-run lead at any point of the game. They were the only team without a loss when leading by four runs, before Saturday.
Starter Rich Hill set the tone for the Dodgers in an early pitchers’ duel with Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Hill did not allow a hit until a Christian Vazquez single in the fifth inning. Hill gave up one run on one hit over 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
“I think it just didn’t work out the way we wanted,” Hill said. “We’ll move forward and concentrate on (Sunday).”
Rodriguez, who was making his first career postseason start, was nearly as good, giving up just two hits through five scoreless innings. It started to unravel when Rodriguez hit David Freese with a pitch to lead off the sixth inning.
After a one-out double from Justin Turner, Manny Machado was walked intentionally to load the bases. Rodriguez appeared to get the double play he needed on Cody Bellinger, but the 3-2-3 play went awry when Vazquez’s return throw from home plate to first sailed into foul territory in right field.
Pinch runner Hernandez was forced out at home on the play, but Turner scored from second on the error for a 1-0 Dodgers lead.
Yasiel Puig followed with a home run deep into the seats in left field on a 3-1 pitch to give the Dodgers their 4-0 lead. Rodriguez gave up four runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings.
“Yeah, I mean that was the only mistake I felt I made the whole game and I paid for it,” Rodriguez said of the 92 mph fastball to Puig. “The good part is that we won the game and that’s all that matters.”
The Red Sox switched up their pitching plans for Game 5, with left-hander David Price getting the nod over Sale. Manager Alex Cora said the decision was made because the team likes Price at a National League park, not because Sale, who battled shoulder inflammation late during the season and a stomach virus during the last round of the playoffs, suffered a setback.
The Dodgers will rest their hopes on the left arm of ace Clayton Kershaw, who failed to record an out in the fifth inning of a loss in Game 1.
–Doug Padilla, Field Level Media
LOS ANGELES – Max Muncy was the hero of the longest postseason game in baseball history, and now the Los Angeles Dodgers look to even the World Series when they host the Boston Red Sox for Game 4 on Saturday. Muncy hit a leadoff homer over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the 18th inning on Friday to give LA a 3-2 win and cut their deficit to 2-1.
Muncy’s blast ended the 7-hour, 20-minute contest and represents the first walk-off World Series homer by a Los Angeles player since Kirk Gibson’s famous shot off Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1988. “What a ballgame, what a marathon, unbelievable fight from our ballclub,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said in a postgame television interview. “And what a moment for Max. That’s icing on the cake right there. That’s a special moment.” The Red Sox were close to taking a commanding 3-0 series lead when they pushed across a run in the top of the 13th, but a throwing error by second baseman Ian Kinsler with two outs in the bottom half allowed Los Angeles to knot the contest. “That was the best baseball game I’ve ever been a part of,” Boston manager Alex Cora said in his postgame press conference. “The effort from both sides was amazing.”
TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox TBA vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-0, 2.61 ERA)
Scheduled Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched the final six-plus innings of Friday’s loss and Cora didn’t announce a replacement after the game, saying “there are a few guys lining up in my office to start the game.” Among the possibilities are three left-handers – scheduled Game 5 starter Chris Sale could be moved up a day, regular-season starter Eduardo Rodriguez could land the spot or Cora could tab Drew Pomeranz, who began warming up in the 18th inning on Friday. Sale came away with a no-decision in Game 1 after giving up three runs and five hits with seven strikeouts in four-plus innings, Rodriguez struck out the lone batter he faced in Game 3 while Pomeranz hasn’t pitched at all in the postseason, with his last appearance being a one-inning relief stint on Sept. 30.
Hill is scheduled to make his third start of the postseason – he pitched five or fewer innings in both of his previous turns – as long as manager Dave Roberts doesn’t change course. The 38-year-old discussed the importance of his start prior to Game 3, aware that the club doesn’t want the season to end at Dodger Stadium. “I think the biggest thing is, just keep bringing it,” Hill said in his press conference. “That’s what we have to do here in L.A. and continue to keep fighting, don’t hang our heads and give ourselves the best chance to go back to Boston.”
1. Both teams set World Series records in Game 3 for players (23) and pitchers (nine) used in a single contest.
2. Muncy reached base four times (two hits, two walks) in his first start of the series and nearly ended the game in the 15th inning, but his blast down the right-field line narrowly went foul.
3. Boston RF Mookie Betts (0-for-7, three strikeouts) and SS Xander Bogaerts (0-for-8, two strikeouts) were hitless atop the batting order.
LOS ANGELES — Max Muncy hit a game-ending home run in the 18th inning Friday as the Los Angeles Dodgers earned a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox in the longest World Series game ever played.
It was the first game-ending home run in a World Series game at Dodger Stadium since 1988, when a hobbled Kirk Gibson won Game 1 in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics.
Game 3 was the longest World Series game by both innings and time (7 hours, 20 minutes).
“This was a gut-wrenching game for both sides,” Muncy said. “It was one of those games where whoever came out on top was going to have a lot of momentum going into (Game 4). … It’s one of those things where if you are able to come out on top in a game like this, you have to feel like it gives you momentum going into the next one.”
The Red Sox now lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Saturday. Boston was one out away from taking a commanding 3-0 lead, but an error by second baseman Ian Kinsler allowed the Dodgers to tie the game 2-2 in the 13th inning.
“It’s tough to swallow,” Kinsler said. “There’s nothing they can say in that room to make me feel better.”
The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the 13th when Brock Holt scored on an error by Dodgers pitcher Scott Alexander.
The Dodgers were also closing in on victory at one point. They were four outs away when the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a home run against closer Kenley Jansen for a 1-1 tie.
The Dodgers used all eight of their relievers, but none more than two innings, giving manager Dave Roberts confidence going into Game 4.
“For those guys to give us some big outs and pick us up when we needed it, it’s kind of a signature of our ballclub,” Roberts said. “We had our backs to the wall many times and for us to persevere, it’s not how we scripted it, but it’s a big win for us.”
Jansen’s blown save spoiled a brilliant outing from Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who gave up just two hits over seven scoreless innings. His 108 pitches were three more than he has thrown in a game during his brief major league career.
The Dodgers got a home run from Joc Pederson in the third inning but were held scoreless over the next 10 innings by Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, along with a string of eight relievers.
Porcello gave up a run on three hits over 4 2/3 innings. Nathan Eovaldi (0-1), who was expected to be Boston’s Game 4 starter, gave up Muncy’s game-winner after six innings of work. Eovaldi gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits over six innings with five strikeouts.
“That was the most incredible pitching performance I’ve ever seen,” Porcello said of Eovaldi.
What is the Red Sox’s plan for a Game 4 starter?
“We’ll sit down now and go over it,” manager Alex Cora said. “Somebody will start, most likely a lefty.”
Alex Wood (1-0) pitched a scoreless 18th inning to earn the victory for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers were short on offense but did get some defensive heroics in the 10th inning when center fielder Cody Bellinger cut down the go-ahead run at home plate. Kinsler tried to score from third base on a fly ball to center by pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez, but Bellinger’s throw was in time for the out.
Pederson’s home run was his first of this World Series and his fourth home run in six career World Series starts. It was also the Dodgers’ first extra-base hit in 74 plate appearances against the Red Sox in the series.
The top four hitters in the Red Sox’s lineup went a combined 0-for-28.
“It’s just a bad night for them,” Cora said. “We had some situations where we could have put them away and didn’t, and at the end, we paid the price.”
–Doug Padilla, Field Level Media