LOS ANGELES — Wow.
Wow, wow, wow. Wow.
Max Muncy’s solo home run to lead off the bottom of the 18th inning gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-2 walk-off win and ended a seven hour, twenty minute marathon that now stands as the longest game in MLB postseason history.
The dramatic finish spoiled a brilliant effort by Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who entered in the 12th inning and threw six scoreless before allowing the 18th-inning blast. The Dodgers’ victory early Saturday morning cut the Red Sox’ lead in the series to 2-1 and put Los Angeles in a promising position for Game 4, which Eovaldi had been slated to start. And it capped a tense, wild, unforgettable contest.
Here are nine details you may have already forgotten from the Dodgers’ historic 18-inning win.
1. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts combined to go 0-for-15
It’s true. Bogaerts became the first player in postseason history to go 0-for-8 in a game, and Betts – the presumptive AL MVP – dodged the same fate only by drawing an intentional walk in the 13th inning. Dodgers pitching was strong all evening, night and morning, and the first four spots in the Boston batting order combined to go 0-for-28 with two walks and 12 strikeouts.
2. Clayton Kershaw had a pinch-hit at-bat
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was long out of bench bats when pitcher Julio Urias’ turn in the order came up in the bottom of the 17th. So Roberts turned to his ace Kershaw, who handles the bat well by the standards of starting pitchers. Kershaw managed to hit a hard line drive, but it landed in Betts’ glove.
3. Boston switched outfield alignments six times
Playing in a National League park forced Alex Cora to use J.D. Martinez in left field. Martinez is not considered a good defensive outfielder while fully healthy and has been nursing an ankle injury, so to get the most of his best defenders, Cora began switching outfield alignments in the eighth inning. Martinez left the game in the 10th, but Cora kept it up with Brock Holt in the game. Against pull-heavy righties, the Red Sox shifted Jackie Bradley Jr. to left and Betts to center. Against lefties, Betts moved back to right, Bradley to center, and Martinez or Holt to left.
4. Once upon a time, Walker Buehler made a great start
It’s hard to remember now, but the game started with a spectacular effort from rookie Dodgers righty Walker Buehler. The 24-year-old was making only his 27th start at the big-league level, but he touched triple-digits with his fastball and kept Red Sox hitters off balance with well-placed cutters and a handful of slow breaking balls. Buehler allowed only two hits and no walks in seven scoreless innings while striking out seven, throwing a career-high 108 pitches in the effort.
“I think that certain people can handle a moment like this and understand what was at stake tonight,” Roberts said after the game, when asked about Buehler. “And we needed his best effort. And we needed him to go deeper than their starter, log some innings. And some guys run from it. Some guys can’t answer the bell. But this guy, he’s got an overt confidence, a quiet confidence, a little combo. But he’s got tremendous stuff. And he lives for moments like this.”
5. Jackie Bradley Jr. had another huge hit
Bradley won ALCS MVP honors despite having only three total hits in the five-game series because all three drove home runs in big spots. He kept it up in the eighth inning Friday, spoiling Buehler’s chance at earning a win with a home run off Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen. Five of Bradley’s seven hits this October have gone for extra bases.
6. Manny Machado hit a single off the left-field wall
After catching criticism for his lack of effort on the basepaths in the NLCS, Dodgers infielder and pending free agent Manny Machado said he was “not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle'” because it’s “not (his) cup of tea.” He proved it again in sixth on Friday, when he roped a long drive to left field. Machado, apparently thinking the ball was bound for the bleachers, took his time leaving the batter’s box and had to settle for a single when it caromed off the wall.
7. Ian Kinsler's costly error
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