Game 3 will go down as wildest in WS history

Muncy's walk-off HR in 18th spoils Sox's bid for 3-0 Series lead

October 27th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Someday, they'll ask about the longest, wildest, weirdest World Series game ever played. They'll watch the videos and documentaries. They'll read the books, too.

And they'll still want to know what it was like to live through all seven hours, 20 minutes of Game 3 of the 2018 Fall Classic on Friday at Dodger Stadium. To live and die with every pitch for 18 innings? OK, maybe not all 561, but a bunch of them.

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To watch late afternoon bleed into evening into early morning. To see your team grab leads. To see your team lose leads. They'll surely wonder when you knew you were watching something you would need an entire offseason to wrap your mind around.

ended Game 3 with a walk-off home run in the 18th inning to give the Dodgers a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox. He crossed home plate at 12:30 a.m. PT on Saturday.

That it was Muncy ending the marathon affair seemed appropriate since he had just missed an earlier walk-off homer in the bottom of the 15th, as his towering shot sailed inches outside of the right-field foul pole.

When Muncy's 18th-inning blast cleared the wall, it ended an epic game that became not just a game, but a test of wills -- two teams punching and counter-punching, each refusing to give in. In that way, the Dodgers and Red Sox did themselves proud.

Boston was going for a gut-punch 3-0 Series lead, and because it didn't get it and because the Sox scrambled their pitching staff by using not one but two starting pitchers ( and ), the entire vibe may have changed. Now it's a 2-1 lead for Boston with Games 4 and 5 also scheduled for Dodger Stadium.

If you were one of the people who thought these teams were so evenly matched that they'd deliver a street fight of a World Series, you may get what you were hoping for.

We'll be sorting this one out for days, but for now let's check out 11 utterly amazing moments:

1. Where were you this time last year, Max Muncy?

If Muncy hadn't led Los Angeles with 35 home runs this season, we might name him one of the unlikeliest of all World Series heroes. Only he should be way past that after a season when he, finally, at 28, established himself as a bona fide Major Leaguer. That's a far cry from last season, when Muncy was released by the A's in Spring Training, then signed with the Dodgers for a full year in the Minors. He adjusted his swing approach, both mentally and physically, and became one of the sweetest stories of this baseball season. The last player to hit a walk-off home run in a World Series game was L.A. infielder , who did it for St. Louis in Game 6 of the 2011 Fall Classic. Freese got his first at-bat in Game 3 in the 16th inning and struck out.

2. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was all in to win Game 3. Now what?

The skipper said he would do whatever he had to do to win Game 3 and take a 3-0 lead. Cora would then worry about Game 4. He took extreme measures in Game 3, summoning scheduled Game 4 starter Eovaldi for the 12th inning and riding him for six innings of 99-mph fastballs and assorted other stuff. By any measure, Eovaldi, who pitched an inning in each of the first two games, was heroic despite giving up Muncy's home run. Cora also used Game 2 starter Price to get two outs in the ninth inning. Now, Cora will have to figure out a new pitching plan for Game 4.

3. Your move, Dave Roberts

The Dodgers' lineup had a different look against Red Sox right-hander with the team's top three home run hitters -- Muncy, and -- back as starters. They'd all been on the bench for the start of Games 1 and 2 against Boston lefties Chris Sale and Price in a decision by Roberts that was criticized. Cora will start a lefty -- likely either Sale or -- in Game 4, so does Roberts again bench those three power guys and continue a setup that worked so well down the stretch?

4. Get yourself some ice bags,

Nunez entered the game in the 10th inning and played the last nine at third base in an evening in which he took more blows than your average middleweight boxer. First, he went down hard after being rolled by catcher in the 13th inning. Then, Nunez crumpled to the ground after sliding headfirst into first base to beat out an infield single in the same at-bat. Did we mention that he also went flying into the seats near third base chasing down a foul pop moments later? Nunez also tripped over the mound catching a popup in the 16th.

5. grabs a bat in the 17th inning

With Roberts out of position players, he sent his ace pitcher up to pinch-hit against Eovaldi, and Kershaw had one of the better-struck balls of the late innings, putting a nice swing on it and lining out to right field. The last time the Dodgers used a pitcher to pinch-hit in a postseason game was Don Drysdale in Game 2 of the 1965 World Series. He struck out.

6. What happened to the top of the Red Sox's order?

Boston's lineup has been the most productive in baseball, especially at the top, where probable American League MVP Award winner leads off. In Game 3, that top of the lineup was smothered by Los Angeles rookie and the eight relievers who followed. The Red Sox's first four spots in the order were a combined 0-for-28, a total that includes two at-bats by Eovaldi.

7. Remember when Buehler was the star of Game 3?

The 24-year-old Dodgers rookie had one of the great World Series debuts any pitcher will ever have. With his team backed into a corner, Buehler pitched seven dominant shutout innings against the highest-scoring offense in baseball. He allowed just two singles, and the Red Sox got just one runner into scoring position against him.

8. Did both managers burn their closers for Game 4?

That's one of a few dozen tough decisions they may have to make during Game 4. Roberts tried to get a six-out save from , who allowed s game-tying home run in the top of the eighth. Jansen threw 32 pitches in getting those six outs. Cora pushed his closer, , as well, using him for for four outs and 28 pitches. Kimbrel threw that many pitches in the AL Championship Series and he was back on the mound the next night. Jansen has thrown at least 32 pitches twice this postseason. After one of them, he came back to throw four the next day.

9. Postseason star JBJ does it again

Forget batting average. When his team has needed him, Bradley has delivered. His postseason hits since the beginning of the ALCS: a three-run double with Boston trailing by two; a grand slam; a two-run home run with the Sox down two; a single; and a game-tying home run with two out in the ninth on Friday. Bradley has 10 RBIs with two outs this postseason.

Machado embarrassed by baserunning gaffe

10. Manny, Manny, Manny

Had L.A. lost this game, there would have been a storm of criticism aimed at shortstop Manny Machado. Controversy -- much of it of his own making -- has followed him this postseason, and he earned some more in the bottom of the sixth inning when he hit a towering fly to left and then stood at home plate way too long to admire it. Machado then began a homer trot toward first, only to watch the ball bang off the left-field wall. Because he wasn't running, he was held to a single. Bad look.

11. Were they serving pancakes at Dodger Stadium?

This game lasted so long that concession stands reopened to sell coffee, ice cream and nachos to fans -- the vast majority of the 53,114 -- staying for the whole thing.