LOS ANGELES — Perhaps it wasn’t the dramatic walk-off homer Kirk Gibson hit 30 years ago, but that’s because the game already was seven hours old and 18 innings long.
Max Muncy’s home run into the left-field seats ended it after seven hours, 20 minutes as the Los Angeles Dodgers outlasted the Boston Red Sox, 3-2, in the longest World Series game ever Friday.
The Dodgers may still be down 2 games to 1 in this best-of-seven series, but they’ve got plenty of momentum considering the Red Sox were forced to use Game 4 starter Nathan Eovaldi. That means struggling pitcher Drew Pomeranz likely will have to start Saturday night (8:07 p.m. ET, Fox).
Cody Bellinger saved the Dodgers from losing in the 10th inning with his arm.
The Red Sox had runners on the corners with one out when Eduardo Nunez hit a fly ball to shallow center field. Bellinger circled under it, making sure he would charge the ball with plenty of arm strength, and fired it to Austin Barnes on the fly, easily nailing pinch-runner Ian Kinsler.
The sellout crowd of 53,114 roared in delight.
The story of the game for most of the evening appeared to be Dodgers starter Walker Buehler’s brilliant performance.
A year ago, Buehler was sitting in the Dodger Stadium upper deck near the left-field foul pole, watching the World Series with his buddies.
This night, Buehler was only 60-feet-6 inches from home plate, putting on one of the finest World Series pitching performances in Dodgers’ history, suffocating the powerful Red Sox lineup.
He gave up just two singles without a walk, striking out seven in seven innings.
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The only other pitcher in World Series history to yield two or fewer baserunners and strike out at least seven batters?
Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game for the Dodgers, in 1956.
Buehler got better and better as the game went on. He gave up back-to-back singles in the third inning, but never permitted another baserunner. Fourteen up, 14 down. He ended his 108-pitch night by striking out Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez, walking off the field to a thunderous, standing ovation.
The Red Sox hadn’t seen anyone dominate them like this since the playoffs started three weeks ago. This is a team that pummeled opposing starters, leaving them with an ugly 7.47 ERA this postseason. The only starter this postseason who even had a quality start against them was Cy Young winner Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros.
This is a Red Sox offense that was averaging 6.2 runs a game, and had outscored the opposition by 27 runs this postseason. They were hitting .415 with a .564 on-base percentage and .756 slugging percentage with two outs and runners in scoring position, the best in postseason history.
“I don’t think anybody would expect those type of numbers,’’ second baseman Kinsler said, “but this team never quits.’’
The Dodgers scored first courtesy of Joc Pederson’s two-out homer in the third inning. Pederson’s hit snapped a streak of 25 consecutive hitless plate appearances by the Dodgers. It also ended a streak of 74 consecutive plate appearances without an extra-base hit, the longest drought since the 1986 New York Mets.
It was Pederson’s fourth career World Series homer, the third-most in Dodgers’ history.
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