The joyous throng gathered around home plate at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, seven hours and 20 minutes after this monstrosity of a baseball game had begun.
Never before had a World Series game lasted this long.
Never before had a playoff game lasted this long. Never before had the Dodgers experienced a victory quite like their 3-2 walkoff over the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the World Series, an 18-inning agony that ended with sweet relief when Max Muncy launched a solo home run.
For a few minutes Friday night, Cody Bellinger was the loneliest person at Dodger Stadium. Game 3 of the World Series was tied and his baserunning blunder had sucked the oxygen out of the building. He led off the bottom of the ninth with a textbook opposite-field single off Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price, giving the Dodgers a prime chance to score the winning run for their first victory of the series. But moments later, with a full count on Yasmani Grandal, he darted for second base too early and Price caught him. After a quick rundown, Bellinger, who was caught stealing once in 15 attempts during the regular season, was tagged for the inning’s second out.
With that disappointment hanging over him, Bellinger took his spot in center field for the top of the 10th inning. From there, he masked his gaffe’s stink with a missile home. With pinch-runner Ian Kinsler at third base, pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez lifted a fly ball to center field. Bellinger settled behind the ball to gather some momentum as he caught it and transferred it from his glove to his left hand. His throw was off-line, but Austin Barnes was able to handle it and apply the tag to get Kinsler.
Bellinger’s defense kept the score tied — and may have kept the Dodgers’ championship hopes alive. Eight innings later, Max Muncy ended the longest playoff game in history with a walk-off home run in the 18th inning against Nathan Eovaldi to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win and a avoid a 3-0 series hole. They now trail the Red Sox two-games-to-one .
Plenty happened in Game 3 of the World Series, from Kenley Jansen blowing a one-run lead in the eighth inning to the Dodgers erasing a one-run deficit in the 13th to ultimately earning a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Max Muncy’s walk-off home run in the 18th.
None of that should take away from what Walker Buehler did Friday night.
In the first World Series game of his career, Buehler affirmed he is becoming everything the Dodgers envisioned, a franchise cornerstone who performs like a frontline starter in October as well as in the regular season.
After more than seven hours of baseball, Friday night become Saturday morning, desperation fighting exhaustion, the Dodgers’ Max Muncy drove a pitch over the left-field fence at Dodger Stadium, then powerfully threw up both of his giant arms.