LOS ANGELES (AP) — Exhausting and then exhilarating for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Max Muncy’s home run leading off the bottom of the 18th inning finally ended the longest World Series game in history early Saturday and gave Los Angeles a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox that drew the Dodgers to 2-1 in the best-of-seven matchup.
“You’d look up and see 18th inning and like, 'Holy cow,' ” Muncy said. “There was no give-up.”
While the Dodgers mobbed Muncy at home plate, the Red Sox will rue one that got away.
They were oh-so-close in the 13th to taking a huge 3-0 Series lead. But second baseman Ian Kinsler’s wide throw on a two-out grounder by Yasiel Puig let Los Angeles score the tying run in a game that lasted 7 hours, 20 minutes.
“It was just a bad night,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We had some situations that we could have put them away and then we didn’t. And at the end we paid the price.”
Muncy homered to left-center off Nathan Eovaldi, jolting the remaining fans to their feet at 12:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET). A grinning Muncy tossed his helmet in the air as he headed for third.
Recalling Kirk Gibson’s winning pinch-hit homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Muncy came within feet of ending it in the bottom of the 15th. But his shot to right sailed just foul and he ended up striking out.
“I really thought I had it,” Muncy said. “That was kind of defeating at that point, but I was able to get back and get another shot.”
The battle of attrition had a bit of everything, including 18 pitchers and 27 position players. Never before had a Series game gone more than 14 innings.
“Parts of three games, I think,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It was a must-win for us. Our guys just persevered.”
Dodgers rookie Walker Buehler dazzled over seven shutout innings. The right-hander retired his final 14 batters before leaving after 108 pitches. He allowed two hits, struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone.
“He’s got an overt confidence, a quiet confidence, a little combo,” Roberts said. “But he’s got tremendous stuff, and he lives for moments like this.”
Boston starter Rick Porcello gave up one run and three hits in 4 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked one.
Once the starting pitchers departed, things got interesting.
Five innings after Joc Pederson homered for the Dodgers, the Red Sox tied it 1-all in the eighth on a homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. After center fielder Cody Bellinger made the throw of his life to nail Kinsler at home in the 10th, both teams scored on bizarre errors in the 13th.
Before Kinsler's throwing miscue, the Red Sox manufactured a run with a walk, a steal, an infield hit and an error in the top of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.
Brock Holt drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez got flipped on his back by catcher Austin Barnes as Barnes chased Scott Alexander’s wild pitch.
Nunez then reached on a nubber to the right side and Alexander botched the throw to first, allowing Holt to score. Nunez got knocked on his back again in the play at first, but stayed in the game since the Boston had no one left on its bench.
Muncy started the bottom of the 13th with a walk and tagged up when Nunez tumbled into the third base stands after catching Bellinger’s pop foul. Muncy scored when Kinsler botched the throw to first.
Cora used starter David Price in relief, rotated his outfielders in the middle of innings and even put catcher Christian Vazquez at first base for the first time in his big league career.
Out of position players, Roberts called on ace Clayton Kershaw to pinch-hit in the 17th. He flied out.
The stadium organist was busy, too, launching into “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in the 14th inning — a second version of the seventh-inning stretch. Not many had left by then.
The crowd cheered when the stadium clock reached midnight.
“What a ballgame. What a marathon,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “Unbelievable fight from our club.”
“I think my beard got about 3 inches longer.”
Both teams squandered numerous chances. The Red Sox stranded runners in the 10th and 11th. The Dodgers left runners on in every inning from the fifth to the 11th.
Boston had runners at the corners in the 10th. Pedro Baez walked Kinsler with one out and Kinsler took third on Holt’s single to center.
Bellinger started a sensational, inning-ending double play from center field, catching Nunez’s pinch-hit fly and then firing to catcher Austin Barnes a few feet up the third-base line. Barnes made the tag as Kinsler came barreling past and both players tumbled to the dirt.
Game 4 is later Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Eovaldi had been scheduled to start for the Red Sox, but he threw 97 pitches in relief as one of nine pitchers they used. Left-hander Rich Hill starts for the Dodgers.
Red Sox: Cora hadn’t decided on a Game 4 starter.
Dodgers: Hill is 0-0 with a 2.61 ERA this postseason, starting once in the NLDS against Atlanta and once in the NLCS against Milwaukee. He also appeared in relief in Game 6 of the NLCS.