‘Gut-wrenching’: Dodgers don’t have time to soak in monumental Game 3 win

LOS ANGELES — It was a World Series game that started in the afternoon and ended in the morning, with two weary teams spending 7 hours and 20 minutes together over 18 innings. Everyone still is trying to wrap their heads around what happened.

“A lot of weird [stuff] happened," Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez said.

History will show that the Los Angeles Dodgers won the game, 3-2, over the Boston Red Sox on Max Muncy’s 18th-inning homer before 53,114 fans at Dodger Stadium. It was the first World Series walk-off hit since David Freese's in 2011 for the St. Louis Cardinals and the latest-inning walk-off hit for the Dodgers in any game in 101 years.

Maybe one day, they’ll be able to tell their children and grandchildren about this night, the game that may forever be remembered in Dodgers’ lore – if they come back and win the World Series.

The Dodgers know the Red Sox still lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, but the feeling in their clubhouse is that they just won a doubleheader.

“This was a gut-wrenching game for both sides," Muncy said. “This is one of those games that whoever came out on top is going to have a lot of momentum.

“This was an extremely long game. A lot of pitchers were used. Every position player was used. Injuries on both sides. Their guys are banged up, our guys are banged up."

The Red Sox, who employed nine pitchers, were supposed to go with Nathan Eovaldi in Game 4 that will be played later Saturday. Instead, he wound up throwing six innings – longer than 17 other pitchers in Game 3 – with only Dodgers starter Walker Buehler lasting longer.

So who will get the ball for Game 4?

“How do you spell that, 'TBA'? " Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “TBA."

Well, if that wasn’t confusing enough, the Dodgers sent a Twitter message at 4:27 a.m. ET, almost an hour after Game 3 ended, that instead of starting Rich Hill, their opener also was TBD.

Who knows what’s in store after one of the most riveting, exhausting and heart-breaking World Series games you’ll see.

“It's probably one of the best, if not the best, game I've ever been a part of," Cora said.

You know you’ve witnessed something special when Game 3 took longer to play than the entire 1939 World Series, using 46 players, 18 of them pitchers, with 561 pitches thrown, and 34 strikeouts.

“It was surreal," said Dodgers first baseman Freese, the last bench player to enter the game, in the 14th inning. “I mean, you look at the clock. And it's tomorrow. Just unbelievable."

So, what in the world did Freese do for the first six hours of the night?

“Well, took a nap for a few hours," he said, laughing. “Made myself dinner. I was going to get a haircut, too, but Great Clips was closed."

Yep, that kind of night.

“Well, all I know is we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Right now, our focus is tomorrow. Or today. Later, today."

As for Friday, there were plenty of wrinkles.


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Where else can you find three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw stepping to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the 17th inning? Or Red Sox outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. switching positions more than a dozen times in the game? Or Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez playing the last six innings at first base? Or the top four spots in the Red Sox lineup going 0-for-28, with Xander Bogaerts setting a postseason record by going 0-for-8.

Or Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger making a baserunning blunder one inning, and saving the Dodgers’ season with a throw to the plate to nail Ian Kinsler the next? Or the Dodgers making a bone-headed error leading to a run in the top of the 13th, only for the Red Sox to reciprocate with Kinsler throwing the ball away at second base, permitting the Dodgers to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the frame?

In a game this wacky, Muncy had to be the hero, hitting the first walk-off homer of his career and the first for the Dodgers in a World Series game since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

This is a guy, who was unemployed a year ago, released by the Oakland A’s. Today, he’s a household name in Los Angeles.

“This happens in this dream right now," Muncy said, “this exact one. This whole year has been a surreal experience that it's hard to put into words. Just getting a chance to play in the World Series has kind of capped it off.

“And then getting a chance to hit a walk-off home run, obviously there's not many words I can use to describe that.

“The feeling was just pure joy and incredible excitement."

While Muncy was taking all of the bows, the real star of the night may have been the team’s chef. He was the one, Kershaw said, providing the energy.

“He was making us peanut butter-banana sandwiches," Kershaw said. “We were well-fueled."

Maybe too-fueled, as TV cameras showed Brian Dozier swinging bananas in the dugout and Justin Turner rapping a ruler against the dugout railing.

“These guys are so relaxed," Freese said. “They flip helmets. Flip words. They do a great job just turning the page."

The Red Sox certainly are going to have to take a page out of the same playbook. This is a team that was averaging 6.2 runs a game this postseason, and suddenly they've forgotten how to get on base. When they did, they squandered opportunities.

Their pitching is a quagmire with Eovaldi becoming the first World Series pitcher to throw at least 80 pitches in relief since 1984, starter David Price coming out of the bullpen, and Drew Pomeranz, who likely will have to start Game 4, pitching in the bullpen in the 18th inning.

“We'll map it out [today]," Cora said. “There are a few guys that are lining up in my office to start the game. We'll decide what we'll do and we'll be fine."

Maybe the biggest question is whether they can recover in time?

“We'll find out tomorrow," Cora said.

Make that today.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @BNightengale

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