LOS ANGELES — The significance of Ian Kinsler's error was not lost on him.
The potential enormity of it is something he and the Boston Red Sox will not dare consider unless this World Series turns permanently against them.
Forty-six players participated in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium, and somehow, after 7 hours and 20 minutes of absurd baseball, a hero and goat emerged in the haze.
In the longest World Series game in history, Max Muncy's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 18th inning ended the delirium, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 victory and casting Muncy immediately into the pantheon of Dodgers World Series heroes.
Five innings earlier, Kinsler tempted history.
With the Red Sox one out from seizing a 3-0 Series lead, Kinsler seemed to lose his footing fielding Yasiel Puig's ground ball and then, rather than set himself, rushed the throw to first. It pulled Christian Vazquez – playing his first game ever at first base – wide of the bag.
The Dodgers had life. Five innings later, it was a 2-1 Series and Kinsler knew the culprit for that.
"I had an opportunity to end the game right there," he said, "and it didn’t happen."
More accurately: He had a chance to end the World Series.
MORE FROM GAME 3:
- Muncy's blast gives Dodgers hope again
- 9 crazy details from the instant-classic
- All the records set in historic Game 3
A 3-0 Red Sox lead would have made Saturday's Game 4 house money, really. A team that won 108 games in the regular season with four chances to close it out? Fire up the duck boats and cancel school – a fourth Red Sox title this century would have been mere formality.
Instead, what happens next will determine whether Kinsler's gaffe is a footnote in their epic championship story, or if his name is forever evoked in Bucknerian terms throughout New England.
Such ghastly thoughts weren't voiced after Game 3. Red Sox manager Alex Cora has truly fostered a family environment, and themes of picking up teammates and winning and losing together seeped from their clubhouse after the disastrous loss.
“I feel terrible," Kinsler said. “I feel like I let the team down right there. I just had the last out in my glove and couldn’t get it over there. It was tough to swallow.’’
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