LOS ANGELES – With a Cody Bellinger throw and a Max Muncy blow, the Los Angeles Dodgers have crawled back into the World Series.
Muncy’s dramatic opposite-field home run in the 18th inning off Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi lifted the Dodgers to a will-testing 3-2 win in Game 3 of the World Series, which started Friday but ended Saturday, cutting the Red Sox’s lead in the World Series to 2-1.
It was LA’s first walk-off series win since Kirk Gibson’s Game 1 homer against the Oakland A’s in 1988, which sparked the Dodgers to their last title. Muncy became the first player to hit a game-ending homer in a World Series game since former Cardinal and current Dodger David Freese in 201
From the first pitch of every series to the last out of Game 7, you can catch the entire MLB postseason on ESPN Radio. List »
It was also a act of mercy for everyone on hand at Dodger Stadium and watching on TV. The homer ended a game that lasted 7 hours, 20 minutes and ended at 3:20 a.m. Boston time. The time of game would have been long for a doubleheader. It was also the longest World Series contest by innings.
According to Stats LLC, the game took longer than the 1939 World Series, when the Yankees swept the Reds in a combined 7 hours, 5 minutes. A record 46 players appeared in the game – 23 for each team. There were two stage-wide renditions of “Take Out to the Ballgame,” in the middle of the seventh and 14th innings. One fan in the left-field bleachers might or may not have read all 1,225 pages of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”
The game was endured despite several near-misses to end it in a more reasonable time.
One game-extending moment happened in the 13th, when the Dodgers tied it on an error. With Muncy on second base and the Red Sox one out away from seizing a 3-0 lead in the series, Yasiel Puig hit a ground ball up the middle. Boston second baseman Ian Kinsler stumbled while making the play and threw wide of first baseman Christian Vazquez, allowing Muncy to race home with a season-saving run.
The stunning turnaround came minutes after Boston had taken a 2-1 lead when Brock Holt scored from second base on a throwing error by Dodgers reliever Scott Alexander. If the game had ended that way, it would have been the first game-winning run to score on an error in a World Series game since Game 6 in 1986 – the Bill Buckner Game that lives in infamy in Red Sox lore.  Instead of exorcising that particular demon, the Red Sox now has to wonder if some new ones have been stirred up.
Eduardo Nunez hits a fly ball to center field and Cody Bellinger makes a great throw home to get Ian Kinsler out.
In a sense, Bellinger helped set up the winning run eight innings earlier with a defensive gem in the 10th inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Boston pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez lofted a high fly ball to medium-depth center field.
Bellinger backed up on the ball so that he could catch it with forward momentum, did so and uncorked a rocket throw to catcher Austin Barnes that beat pinch runner Kinsler by a full step and sent the Dodger Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
The play was reminiscent of another great throw in a World Series by a Dodger outfielder. In 1974, Joe Ferguson gunned down Oakland’s Sal Bando in Game 1 of that Series in what some saw as the greatest throw in Dodger’s history. If it were No. 1, Bellinger might have bumped it down a spot.
It was also redemptive for Bellinger, who was picked off first base by Boston’s David Price with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth.
Muncy just missed being the hero in the 15th when he whacked what would have been a no-doubter down the right-field line that just curled outside of the foul pole.
Boston tied the score in the eighth on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-out solo homer to right field off Dodgers relief ace Kenley Jansen. The blast gave Bradley three homers and 10 RBIs with two outs this postseason.
Walker Buehler, who gave up only two hits in seven shutdown innings, reacts after striking out J.D. Martinez to end the fourth inning. AP Photo / Jae C. Hong
Bradley became the fourth player in Red Sox history to hit a tie homer in the eighth inning or later of a World Series game. It was the first such homer for Boston since Bernie Carbo’s famed blast in Game 6 in 1975.
That Bradley was even in the Boston lineup was yet another feather in the cap of Boston manager Alex Cora, who has been drawing plaudits for his decision-making all October. Need to find a way to keep J.D. Martinez’s bat in the lineup, most thought the probably odd man out would be Bradley. Instead, Cora stuck with his regular center fielder and brought Andrew Benintendi off the bench.
The home run off Jansen spoiled a gem of an outing by Dodgers rookie Walker Buehler. Vicious is really the only one to describe Buehler’s performance.
Buehler was in command from the start, striking out Mookie Betts to start his Series debut and fanning Martinez to end it. Buehler threw a career-high 108 pitches, his count driven by 26 foul balls by the disciplined Red Sox lineup. As it turned out, fouling balls were about all Boston’s league-best offense could do against Buehler.
Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers the only offense they could meet early in the game when he yanked a Rick Porcello pitch over the fence in right field with two outs in the third. It was LA’s first hit of any kind since Puig’s RBI single in the fourth inning of game 2.