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World Series: Red Sox eliminate the Dodgers in five games

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The bell tolled for the 2018 Dodgers at 8:17 p.m. on Sunday, as Manny Machado fell to a knee in the batter’s box after the final, futile swing of the season. A championship drought extended to a 30th year after Game 5 of the World Series, a 5-1 victory by the Boston Red Sox that lacked the turmoil of the previous night and the exhaustion of the previous season. For the second year in a row, an opposing team spilled champagne and lifted the Commissioner’s Trophy in Dodger Stadium as the hosts trudged toward the offseason.

Results

Game 1: Red Sox 8, Dodgers 4

Game 2: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2

Game 3: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 1 (18)

Game 4: Red Sox 9, Dodgers 6

Game 5: Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1

Photos: Visual recap of the World Series games between the Dodgers and Red Sox

A glimpse into Boston’s World Series title celebration

Harry How / Getty Images
(The Boston Red Sox celebrate their World Series victory. )

Champagne dripped from the ceiling and onto the World Series trophy in the clubhouse. Players yelled and embraced. The smell of alcohol and cigar smoke was so strong it stuck to your tongue.

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Dodgers must figure out why regular season was so right and World Series went so wrong

Yasiel Puig looks on from the bench as the Red Sox carry a 5-1 lead late in Game 5.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Andrew Friedman stood in a hallway outside the Dodgers’ clubhouse late Sunday night, spinning a baseball in his hand. It had been more than an hour since the Dodgers’ season ended, and he had made his way through the clubhouse, shaking hands and extending hugs. The clubhouse door was locked, the players had left for the winter and the pride in guiding the Dodgers to their first back-to-back World Series appearances in 30 years had been eclipsed by the pain in losing both of them.

The Dodgers never have played in the World Series in three consecutive years — not in Los Angeles, not Brooklyn, not ever. For the fans, wait till next year. For Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, next year started Sunday.

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October has been the Dodgers’ cruelest month

Dodger players can only watch in the ninth inning as the Red Sox go on to win the championship in Game 5.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Winter came to Chavez Ravine on Sunday night, swiftly, cruelly, blowing in from Boston and burying the Dodgers precisely where they stood.

Clayton Kershaw, frozen on the mound, staring at his shoes. Dodgers batters, motionless at home plate, glaring into failure. Dave Roberts, stuck on the dugout rail, peering into his future.

Surrounding it all was a Dodger Stadium filled with October-bitten fans, frosty in their seats, glaring down at somebody else celebrating a championship for the second consecutive year.

It was all so cold. It was all so familiar.

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Fox Sports steps up its game on one of L.A.'s biggest sports days

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw warms up in the outfield before facing the Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw warms up in the outfield before facing the Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday played out under the headline of “Los Angeles’ Sports Equinox,” and a lot of people across the country saw a lot of L.A. cultural touchstones if they were paying attention on TV.

Fox Sports, based in Century City, also stepped up its game.

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Manny Machado’s final out punctuated his postseason with Dodgers

Dodgers' Manny Machado strikes out as Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez charges to the mound to celebrate winning the 2018 Word Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Manny Machado was the last line of defense for the Dodgers on Sunday night, the final hope for the home team in its desperate quest to extend the World Series another day and avoid allowing an opponent to celebrate a championship on its turf. He was acquired for moments like those, when the Dodgers needed a spark from his otherworldly talent. He did not provide one. Machado struck out on a slider from Chris Sale at his feet. His defensive swing left him on one knee. It was likely the impending free agent’s final act as a Dodger.

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There was a feeling of finality to Clayton Kershaw’s Game 5 start

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw rests in the dugout after completing seven innings.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

If this was it, if Clayton Kershaw never pitches another game for the Dodgers, two images will forever define his time here.

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Red Sox silence the Dodgers’ offense to claim the World Series championship

Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig drops his bat and helmet in the infield after flying out to end the fourth inning.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The evening felt like an eerie companion to Game 7 of last year’s World Series.

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We go to the bottom of the ninth

TOP OF NINTH: Hernandez to second. Muncy to first. Taylor to center. Kemp in left. Grandal catching. Kenley Jansen pitching. Bogaerts walked. Holt grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Devers grounded to first. RED SOX 5, DODGERS 1.

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Red Sox beat Dodgers 5-1 to win the World Series

Clayton Kershaw surrenders a sixth inning solo homer to Mookie Betts.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The bell tolled for the 2018 Dodgers at 8:17 p.m. on Sunday, as Manny Machado made the final, futile swing of the season in Game 5 of the World Series, a 5-1 defeat by the Boston Red Sox that lacked the drama and turmoil of the previous night. The anti-climax still stung. Despite looking feeble for the majority of the Fall Classic, the team finished three victories shy of the championship which has eluded Los Angeles since 1988.

The drought reached its 30th year in dispiriting fashion. The Dodgers spent a summer with their flaws hiding in plain sight. The group overcame them to collective their second consecutive National League pennant. Then, across 54 innings with the Red Sox, the team saw itself torn apart from within and without. They made mistakes and paid for them. They failed to execute, and saw their opponents romp inside their own ballpark, which teemed with Red Sox fans by Sunday’s conclusion.

The evening felt like an eerie companion to Game 7 of last year’s World Series. The opponent launched a first-inning salvo. The offense squandered an early opportunity. The crowd sat on its hands, desperate for material to cheer about. The Dodgers offered little. They were unable to send the series back to Boston.

The defeat ushered in a winter of uncertainty. Manager Dave Roberts does not have a guaranteed contract for 2019. He exposed himself to criticism after questionable decisions in this series, including an over-reliance on fading reliever Ryan Madson. Clayton Kershaw can depart in free agency. He took two losses in these five games.

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Dodgers are down to their final three outs

BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: Taylor walked. Matt Kemp was announced for Barnes, so the Red Sox bring in right-hander Joe Kelly. Kemp struck out swinging. Joc Pederson, batting for Baez, struck out looking. Cody Bellinger, batting for Freese, struck out swinging. RED SOX 5, DODGERS 1

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Red Sox increase lead to 5-1

TOP OF THE EIGHTH: Pedro Baez now pitching. Betts flied to center. Benintendi fouled to the catcher. Pearce homered to left. Martinez struck out swinging. RED SOX 5, DODGERS 1

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Dodgers go down quietly in bottom of seventh

BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: Machado lined to short. Muncy flied to left. Puig grounded to the pitcher. RED SOX 4, DODGERS 1

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He remembers Clayton Kershaw the kid, and is now honored to watch him in Game 5

Michael Horner sports his festive ensemble during Game 5 of the World Series.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Years ago, Michael Horner was watching a late spring training game at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. There was a young man on the pitching mound who was struggling to get strikeouts and getting walloped by batters.

“I said, ‘What are they doing with this young kid?’” Horner recalled. “This kid was terrible. Why in the world was he playing for the Dodgers?

“His name was Clayton Kershaw.”

Watching the Dodgers’ ace become one of the best pitchers of his generation has been a delight for Horner, 82, of Pasadena, who said his initial impression proved he was a bad judge of baseball talent.

Horner came to Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night wearing a Dodgers-themed Hawaiian shirt, a blue Dodgers cap with a Farmer John Hot Dogs logo and a fuzzy blue wig on top. Kershaw was on the mound once again.

Asked how he was feeling with his Dodgers trailing the Boston Red Sox three games to one in the best-of-seven World Series, Horner said: “Depressed.”

“I’m a long-standing, long-suffering fan,” Horner said. “I have been the last 50 years. I’m a dedicated fan, despite all the misery and suffering.”

Horner grew up in Pittsburgh, rooting for the Pirates, and moved to Los Angeles in 1967. It took him a few years to warm up to the Dodgers. Back in the day, Pittsburgh had a bitter rivalry with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Once he became a Dodgers fan, he was all in. His wife, Sally, who died two years ago, would accompany him to games. They raised their children to be baseball fans as well.

Every time he steps into Dodger Stadium, Horner is impressed with the crowd and the aura of the place.

Still, baseball is a game that’s hard on the emotions.

Horner was visiting friends in Palm Springs on Saturday night when someone turned on Game 4. The television powered on just as Yasiel Puig hit a home run to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead. All right, he thought. This was good.

Until it wasn’t. The Dodgers lost 9-6.

“Oh, God, did I suffer during the rest of that game,” he said. “Baseball, you suffer through it. It’s a great game.”

Horner, who owns several children’s camps, played high school baseball. He was a catcher. So, too, was his son and grandson. He appreciates the difficulty of the game and the athleticism of all who play it.

“I know how hard it is to hit a baseball,” he said. “I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn door with a baseball bat.”

Kershaw can void the rest of his contract and become a free agent after this season, and Horner feared he was watching Kershaw’s last game in a Dodgers uniform.

If that’s the case, he said, it’s been an honor.

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Red Sox extend lead to 4-1

TOP OF SEVENTH: Martinez homered to center. Bogaerts singled to center. Holt grounded to second, Bogaerts forced at second. Devers singled to center, Bogaerts to second. Vazquez struck out swinging. Price grounded to second, forcing Devers.

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Red Sox take 3-1 lead on Mookie Betts’ homer

TOP OF SIXTH: Price grounded to short. Betts homered to left. Benintendi grounded to first. Pearce lined to center. RED SOX 3, DODGERS 1

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Dodgers don’t score in bottom of sixth

BOTTOM OF SIXTH: Freese grounded to second. Turner lined to left. Hernandez grounded to second. RED SOX 3, DODGERS 1

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Two stupid guys spotted at Dodger Stadium

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It’s 2-1 Red Sox after five innings

BOTTOM OF FIFTH: Taylor struck out swinging. Barnes grounded to second. Kershaw grounded to the pitcher. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1

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Red Sox don’t score in top of fifth

TOP OF FIFTH: Holt lined to first. Devers struck out looking. Vazquez lined to left. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1.

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Still 2-1 Red Sox after four

BOTTOM OF FOURTH: Machado struck out swinging. Muncy flied to center. Puig lined to second. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1

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Red Sox don’t score in top of fourth

TOP OF FOURTH: Pearce grounded to third. Martinez singled to left-center. Bogaerts grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1

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After not attending last year’s World Series, he was not missing out this time

Twin brothers Roger and Danny Martinez made a "once-in-a-lifetime" journey to Dodger Stadium for the World Series on Sunday.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Danny Martinez stood in the right field reserve level at Dodger Stadium, holding on to a michelada and all the hope he could muster.

“I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping to the man above that we win,” Martinez said during Game 5 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox lead the best-of-seven series three games to one. By the bottom of the second inning of Game 5, Boston had a 2-1 lead on the Dodgers.

Martinez didn’t get to come to last year’s World Series against the Houston Astros. When a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to attend a World Series returned this season, he knew he had to come to a game.

Like many of the Dodger faithful, Martinez described this season and this World Series as an emotional roller coaster. The Game 4 loss was an especially bitter defeat, he said.

“But win or lose, I’m still going to represent L.A.,” said Martinez, 32, of Huntington Park. “I’m a fan till the end.”

“He’s marked for life,” said his twin brother, Roger Martinez.

And he meant literally. Danny has a big interlocking “LA” tattooed on his shoulder, an inking he got as a teenager to show his undying dedication to his hometown and his team.

“I’ll be cheering for them after they win tonight,” Danny said.

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Dodgers waste one-out triple by Freese

BOTTOM OF THIRD: Clayton Kershaw grounded to third. Freese tripled to deep right. With the infield in, Turner grounded to short. Hernandez fouled to right. Dodgers waste a chance. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1.

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Red Sox go in order in top of third

TOP OF THIRD: David Price struck out swinging. Betts flied to center. Benintendi grounded to first. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1

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Red Sox 2, Dodgers 1 after two innings

BOTTOM OF SECOND: Max Muncy struck out swinging. Yasiel Puig singled to left-center. Chris Taylor flied to center. Austin Barnes struck out swinging. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1.

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Red Sox don’t score in top of second

TOP OF SECOND: Brock Holt flied to left. Rafael Devers struck out swinging. Christian Vazquez lined to center. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 1

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They made it through the Game 3 marathon. Now they’re back for more and, hopefully, another win

Janette Roberts and Rose Moore were at Game 3 on Friday and are hoping for another win Sunday.
(Hailey Branson-Potts)

Janette Roberts and Rose Moore, friends since elementary school, came to Game 5 in matching Dodger blue tutus and feather boas, glittery blue lipstick and World Series caps.

The friends, both 58 and from Gardena, wore the same outfits when the Dodgers played — and won — Game 6 of the World Series against the Houston Astros on Halloween last year. This year, their attire is updated with 2018 World Series gear.

The fans still have hope, but things are certainly more subdued during this World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Roberts said.

“I think people are a little quieter this year,” she said.

The women were in the stands for Game 3, the longest game in World Series history, and stayed the entire 7 hours and 20 minutes. They don’t think a series victory is impossible quite yet, even though “last night was disheartening,” Roberts said.

“To have it and then to lose it...” Moore began, shaking her head at the thought of Game 4.

“They’re a strong team,” Roberts said. “They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t deserve it.”

“We don’t give up,” Moore added. “We don’t give up. We don’t give up.”

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Dodgers get one back in bottom of the first

BOTTOM OF FIRST: David Freese homered to right. Justin Turner walked. Kiké Hernandez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Manny Machado struck out swinging.

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Red Sox take 2-0 lead on Steve Pearce’s homer

World Series Game 5. Clayton Kershaw vs. David Price. Dodgers vs. Red Sox. Pull up a chair and spend some time with us.

TOP OF FIRST: Mookie Betts flied to center. Andrew Benintendi singled to center. Steve Pearce homered to center. J.D. Martinez grounded to second. Xander Bogaerts struck out swinging. RED SOX 2, DODGERS 0.

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The Dodger Game 5 starting lineup is....

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Here is Boston’s Game 5 starting lineup

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He has Lil Puig with him, and a lot of faith in the Dodgers

Isaac Tellez travels with his daughter's doll of Yasiel Puig. On Sunday, he was at Dodger Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Isaac Tellez was walking through a Walmart in Arkansas with his daughter last year when he thought she was pulling a fast one on him.

Elia, 11, likes to persuade her dad to give her money for the claw machines. He thought she was joking when she told him there was a stuffed Yasiel Puig doll in the machine.

“I was like, ‘Girl, we’re in northwest Arkansas. There’s no Puig in there.’ And there he was.”

Elia won the Puig on her first try for just $1. Now, dad carries the stuffed Puig on all his travels and sends photos to her that he captions on social media as #whereislilpuig.

On Sunday, Lil Puig was at Game 5 of the World Series.

Tellez, 39, of Bella Vista, Ark., took photos of the doll his daughter calls Puigy from left field and reflected on what it’s been like to be a Dodgers fan during this World Series, which the Boston Red Sox lead three games to one.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “I think I’ve aged 20 years in the last three days.”

Tellez grew up in El Paso, but since he has a bunch of family in Los Angeles, he’s been a Dodgers fan for as long as he can remember. All of his relatives are, too.

“My family, we pick a team and we stick with them,” he said. “If I chose another team, I’d be a traitor. I’m a Dodgers fan until I die.”

On Friday night, Tellez attended a family wedding downtown. That was the night of Game 3, the longest World Series game in history, and kept everyone — including the bride and groom — updated on the score.

“We were trying to celebrate a union and trying to celebrate a Dodgers win at the same time,” he said.

When the wedding was done, Tellez headed to a taco stand in South L.A. to finish the game, watching Spanish-language announcers with a big crowd gathered outside.

After the euphoria of that victory, Saturday night’s loss was hard, and Tellez was angry about pitcher Rich Hill being pulled from the game. He was watching the game at a bar but became angry and left when the Dodgers fell behind and went to a Dia de Los Muertos celebration downtown “because I thought my soul was dead for the night.”

Still, he was optimistic for a Game 5 victory — and a World Series victory, despite the odds.

“We haven’t had a celebration since 1988,” he said. “The letdown every year, it really hurts. But you’ve got to support your team.”

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Chris Sale awaits if there is a Game 6

The Red Sox did not shy away from starting Chris Sale in Sunday’s Game 5 because he’d fallen ill again, as he did during the American League Championship Series.

But one victory away from capturing the World Series, Boston was preparing for its worst-case scenario. If the Dodgers force Game 6, the Red Sox will turn to Sale to start on extra rest Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Sale was available in the bullpen for Game 5, but Cora said he’d only turn to his ace if the perfect situation came up.

Sale, who allowed three runs in four innings in Game 1, has battled left shoulder inflammation since late July.

“Perfect like in New York when he came in in Game 4 [of the AL Division Series],” manager Alex Cora said. “We know where we’re at. We know who we’re playing and we mapped this out to be covered and be almost at 100% if the series extends. So we’ve got to be very, very careful the way we use him. But it has to be almost perfect. But he’ll be ready.”

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Clayton Kershaw on his slider and legacy

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw discusses the issues with his slider and his legacy.

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Dodgers’ Rich Hill rips Trump: ‘There was a mass shooting yesterday’

Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill throws a pitch in the first inning against the Red Sox in Game 4 of the World Series.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

On the morning after President Trump ripped Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for removing Rich Hill with a four-run lead in the World Series, Hill did not thank Trump for standing up for him. Instead, Hill ripped Trump for his tweet.

And then Hill stood up for himself, saying his interest in telling Roberts to keep an eye on him was “an act of selflessness.”

Said Hill: “We need to change the narrative of this, where it’s being insinuated that I wanted to come out of the game. “

Hill at first breathed deeply and said little about the tweet, sent by Trump on a day 11 people were murdered in a domestic terrorist attack at a Pennsylvania synagogue.

“There was a mass shooting yesterday,” Hill said Sunday.

He expanded on his remark a few minutes later.

“I understand you’re watching the World Series, but there was a huge tragedy that happened and people will say what they want to say,” Hill said.

“The focus, in my opinion, of the president is to be on the country, and not on moves that are made in a World Series game.”

Roberts removed Hill from Saturday’s game in the seventh inning, with one on and one out and the Dodgers leading, 4-0. Hill had made 91 pitches, the last to strike out Eduardo Nunez.

The Dodgers were eight outs from the victory that would have tied the World Series at two games apiece. Instead, the Boston Red Sox scored nine runs, including at least one against each of the six Dodgers relievers, in a stunning 9-6 victory that left the Dodgers one game from elimination.

In explaining the decision to remove Hill, Roberts said that Hill had told him before the seventh inning to “keep an eye on me.” He said he never had heard Hill say anything similar during a game.

“You’re in the World Series,” Hill said Sunday. “You’re having an act of selflessness. When I say ‘keep an eye on me,’ I never said ‘tired.’ I never said I wanted to come out of the game. I’ve never, ever wanted to come out of a game … I’m the ultimate competitor. I’ve never wanted to come out of a game.

“You’re thinking about the 25 guys, and understanding that, if things get haywire out there, and saying, hey, if there is a better option coming out of the bullpen, I’m going to be on board with that, because of the gravity of the situation.

“To have an act of selflessness in this moment is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, the move was made, and it didn’t fall in our favor.”

On Sunday, Roberts expressed no regrets about the decision. He noted that he had not waved a relief pitcher into the game before Hill gave him the ball, although Hill said Roberts previously had never come to the mound without removing him.

“I think that any manager can leave a player, particularly a pitcher, in there until it doesn’t go well. And I think that that’s the easy thing to do.

“But when you have a conversation with a player that you’ve never had before in the dugout prior to going back out there, I think that’s telling. And when you go out to the mound and are given the ball after, with not signaling in, I think that’s telling, as well.”

Roberts and Hill met Sunday morning to clarify the situation.

“Am I going to debate that Rich was competing and he gave everything he had? Absolutely not,” Roberts said. “It was a valiant effort, a tremendous effort and we didn’t get the job done. But from what I got, that led to my decision and it didn’t work out.”

Hill said he understood that Roberts might have taken from the “keep an eye on me” remark that the pitcher thought he was tiring.

“Those were never words that came out of my mouth,” Hill said. “I understand the insinuation, but we can’t assume anything.

“It’s not I want to come out of the game, I’m tired, none of that. You know what? Maybe I should have phrased it that way at the time.”

The Trump tweet, ripping Roberts for removing a pitcher who was dominating the game, ended with these words: “Managers do it all the time. Big mistake!”

Trump was far the only person to criticize Roberts, even if he was the most famous, and Roberts said he did not put too much stock in any of it.

“There’s a lot of thoughts and opinions that people don’t have all the information, which is commonplace these days,” he said, “to cultivate opinions and get out there. So, for me, it’s noise, and I really haven’t paid too much attention to it.”

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Dave Roberts on analytics and taking criticism

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks about his use of analytics and how he handles criticism.

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Justin Turner on how the Dodgers compare to the Red Sox and the team’s confidence

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner talks about how the Dodgers and Red Sox are alike and how his team’s confidence is going into Game 5.

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Dodgers lose to Red Sox, 9-6

The manager botched the seventh inning. The closer botched the eighth. And in the ninth, with the lead gone and the energy leaking from Dodger Stadium, one of the few useful relievers acquired earlier in the summer by Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman botched the ninth.

Call it a historic collapse. Call it a systematic breakdown. Call it the early onset of winter. All apply, yet none precisely capture the bitterness of the fourth game of the World Series, a 9-6 defeat to the Boston Red Sox, when the Dodgers stood on the verge of tying this series and let the opportunity slip through their collective fingers.

Up four runs in the seventh inning, eight outs from a shutout, the Dodgers crumbled. Manager Dave Roberts pressed the wrong buttons. Kenley Jansen combusted once again. Dylan Floro could not stymy the most prolific offense in baseball, instead trembling in their wake.

He permitted a go-ahead RBI single to Boston infielder Rafael Devers in the ninth as Dodger Stadium hushed with shock. The stands emptied when Steve Pearce roped a three-run double off Kenta Maeda a few batters later, and shortstop Xander Bogaerts added an RBI single. The crowd stirred when Enrique Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, but the damage was done, and the Dodgers slinked back to their clubhouse trailing in this series, 3-1.

After slumbering into the sixth, the Dodgers offense was awakened by a Boston error and Yasiel Puig’s three-run homer. The advantage looked safe. Rich Hill was in the process of contributing 6 1/3 innings of clean baseball. The decision by manager Dave Roberts to remove Hill backfired spectacularly, when Ryan Madson served up a three-run homer to Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland.

The night deteriorated from there. Called into action in the eighth inning for the second day in a row, Kenley Jansen blew a save for the second day in a row. Once more he was victimized by a solo home run. Boston infielder Steve Pearce lifted a thigh-high cutter over the center-field fence. A smattering of jeers greeted Jansen as he left the mound.

The two teams returned to the diamond after the preposterous marathon of Game 3. The game required 18 innings. It lasted seven hours and 20 minutes, longer than any other in postseason history. A walkoff homer by Max Muncy kept the Dodgers alive, down only one game in the series, instead of three.

Game 3 ended at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. Roberts downed a beer and a melatonin-based sleep aid, and fell asleep around 3 a.m. He rose in time to be at the ballpark by the next morning. He had drained three cups of coffee before his session with reporters around 1:45 p.m.

“It’s the World Series, man,” Roberts said. “If you can’t get up for this, man, you’ve got to find something else to do.”

The Dodgers engaged in some late-night chicanery after Game 3. Because Boston used potential Game 4 starter Nathan Eovaldi for six innings in relief, Red Sox manager Alex Cora could not immediately say who would take the mound in Eovaldi’s place. The Dodgers countered by listing their starter as “T.B.D.,” even though Hill had left Dodger Stadium thinking he would start.

The intrigue lasted only 12 hours. The Dodgers announced Hill as their starter a few hours before the first pitch. Roberts insisted the team was pondering using a relief pitcher to open the game, a strategy the team had not employed all season. The gambit was nixed, and Hill got the call.

Boston countered with Rodriguez, who had faced a batter the night before. Rodriguez became the first pitcher to start a World Series game on zero days of rest since Washington Senators hurler Firpo Marberry in 1924.

Hill created his own traffic on the bases. He walked first baseman Steve Pearce in a scoreless first inning and did the same with second baseman Brock Holt in the second. In the third, Hill opened the frame by drilling Rodriguez on the right arm with an 87-mph fastball. Hill recovered by erasing Rodriguez on a fielder’s choice, getting outfielder Andrew Benintendi to pop up and induced Pearce’s inning-ending flyball to left field.

Hill looked sharper in the fourth. He pumped a 91-mph fastball past slugger J.D. Martinez for his fourth strikeout of the game. His fifth ended the inning, when gimpy third baseman Eduardo Nunez could not catch up to another 91-mph fastball.

The hitters did little to support Hill against Rodriguez. The group managed only a pair of singles and a walk through four innings. Rodriguez did not let a Dodger reach second base.

Hill blinked, for a moment, in the fifth. He gave up a one-out single to catcher Christian Vazquez, who had come up a few feet short of a homer on a long drive to left moments earlier. With Vazquez at first, Cora let Rodriguez bat. Hill struck him out, then watched outfielder Mookie Betts swat an 89-mph fastball through the marine layer and into Cody Bellinger’s glove in center.

The command of Rodriguez wavered in the sixth. He clipped David Freese in the left knee with his first pitch of the inning. Enrique Hernandez pinch-ran for Freese, and chugged to third base when Justin Turner rolled a double down the third-base line. The Red Sox intentionally walked Manny Machado, which brought Bellinger to the plate against Rodriguez.

Boston bungled the situation. Bellinger smacked a grounder toward first base. Pearce pegged home for one out, then hustled back to the bag and awaited the return from Vazquez. The throw veered behind Bellinger, forcing Pearce to reach around the runner’s back in vain. The ball skipped beyond the grasp of second baseman Brock Holt, who was backing up the play. The error gave Turner time to score from second.

The mistake opened the door for Puig. Rodriguez fell behind in the count. He flung a 3-1 fastball down the middle. Puig bashed it into the left-field pavilion and cavorted around the bases.

The party died down in the seventh. Hill issued a leadoff walk to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. After Hill struck out Nunez, Roberts intervened. He elected to let left-handed reliever Scott Alexander face Holt, a left-handed hitter, even though Hill also throws with his left hand. Alexander threw four balls in a row and exited the scene.

Into the fray came Madson. He had permitted all five of his inherited runners to score in the first two games of this series. He would add two more to his tally on Saturday. Moreland arrived as a pinch hitter. Madson left a changeup at Moreland’s waist. Moreland crushed the ball deep into the right-field bleachers. Standing beneath its arc, Puig put his hands on his head.

He could not have predicted what would follow. The sting of this defeat may linger long after Saturday.

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New stadium vantage point of a lifelong Dodgers fan nets him Yasiel Puig’s home-run ball

Drew Nash displays the ball that Yasiel Puig hit for a three-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 4 on Saturday night.
(Blake Richardson / Los Angeles Times)

There were screams, a bat flip and a glove slammed into the dirt. But all Drew Nash saw was his father rising to his feet.

So the 17-year-old stood up too, putting himself in position to catch Yasiel Puig’s three-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the World Series.

“It was crazy,” Drew said. “I didn’t even see it coming.”

He had never been to a World Series game before watching the Dodgers face the Red Sox on Saturday night with his family, but he is a lifelong Dodgers fan.

“I love coming here,” he said.

Drew normally sat on the other side of the field, relishing the atmosphere of Dodger Stadium. This was his first night with a new vantage point, prime ground for catching a left-field blast. But at first there were none, as starting pitchers Rich Hill and Eduardo Rodriguez retired batter after batter.

Until the sixth inning.

The bases gradually filled with Dodgers batters, wearing down Rodriguez. David Freese was hit by a pitch, Justin Turner doubled to left field with one out and Manny Machado was intentionally walked to load the bases. Cody Bellinger hit into a fielder’s choice, with pinch-runner Enrique Hernandez out at home, but an errant throw allowed Turner to score.

Those were Drew’s final moments watching the game empty-handed.

When Yasiel Puig crushed a 92-mph fastball from a fatigued Rodriguez, who threw down his glove in disgust, Drew was among the fans in left field that jumped to their feet in anticipation.

His favorite player, Drew said, “might now have to be Puig.”

Puig’s hit traveled 439 feet, careening toward Drew’s direction. The ball tipped off his father’s hands, slowing the ball as it popped up into Drew’s reach. He grabbed it.

Drew watched the game clutching his prize with both hands, strikingly white with scuffs around the laces — marks of a journey over the wall.

“I have no idea,” Drew said when asked what he would do with the ball. “I really don’t.”

He turned back to the field and continued to cheer.

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Red Sox take 9-4 lead as Dodger bullpen falls apart

TOP OF NINTH: Dylan Floro now pitching. Nunez popped to first. Holt doubled to left. Rafael Devers hit for Leon and singled to center, scoring Holt. Blake Swihart, batting for the pitcher, grounded to second, Devers moving to second. Betts was walked intentionally. Alex Wood replaces Floro. Benintendi singled to third, loading the bases. Kenta Maeda replaces Wood. Dozier comes in to play second, Hernandez moves to left field. Taylor out of the game. Pearce doubled to right-center, clearing the bases. Martinez was walked intentionally. Bogaerts singled to center, Pearce scoring, Martinez to third. Nunez flied to center. RED SOX 9, DODGERS 4

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It’s 4-4 after eight innings

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: Machado singled to right-center. Bellinger struck out swinging. Puig grounded to short, forcing Machado at second. Taylor singled to left, Puig taking third. Yasmani Grandal, batting for Barnes, struck out swinging. DODGERS 4, RED SOX 4.

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Red Sox tie it off Kenley Jansen in eighth

TOP OF EIGHTH: Kenley Jansen now pitching. Benintendi grounded to first. Pearce homered to center to tie the score. Unbelievable. First bringing in Madson, then bringing in Jansen in the eighth. Do the Dodgers have short-term memory problems? Martinez struck out swinging. Bogaerts flied to right. DODGERS 4, RED SOX 4.

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It’s 4-3 Dodgers after seven

BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: Sandy Leon in at catcher. Joe Kelly now pitching. Joc Pederson, batting for Madson, struck out looking. Hernandez lined to center. Muncy singled to left. Turner flied to center. DODGERS 4, RED SOX 3.

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Red Sox strike back with three in the seventh

TOP OF SEVENTH: Hernandez stays in the game at second. Muncy moves to first. Bogaerts walked. Nunez struck out swinging. That’s it for Hill. Scott Alexander replaces him on the mound. I would have let him pitch to one more batter. He just struck out a guy. Holt walked. Ryan Madson replaces Alexander. Uh oh. Jackie Bradley Jr., batting for Vazquez, popped to second. Mitch Moreland, batting for the pitcher, homered to right. Betts lined to the pitcher. DODGERS 4, RED SOX 3. The Dodgers can never do things the easy way.

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Puig powers Dodgers to 4-0 lead

BOTTOM OF THE SIXTH: Freese was hit by a pitch. Kiké Hernandez ran for Freese. Muncy struck out looking. Turner doubled down the third-base line, Hernandez stopping at third. Machado was walked intentionally. Bellinger grounded to first, with Hernandez forced at the plate. The catcher, Vazquez, tried to complete the double play, but his throw got away and Turner scored. Machado to third. Puig homered to left. It’s 4-0 Dodgers. Matt Barnes is now pitching for the Red Sox. Taylor walked. Barnes struck out swinging. DODGERS 4, RED SOX 0.

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Red Sox go down in order in top of sixth

TOP OF SIXTH: Benintendi grounded to the pitcher. Pearce lined to left. Martinez lined to short. DODGERS 0, RED SOX 0

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There’s no score after five innings

BOTTOM OF FIFTH: Taylor struck out looking. Barnes grounded to third. Hill grounded to third. This game is sailing right along. DODGERS 0, RED SOX 0.

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Red Sox don’t score in top of fifth

TOP OF FIFTH: Holt grounded to second. Vazquez singled to left. Rodriguez struck out looking. Betts lined to center. RED SOX 0, DODGERS 0

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No score after four innings

BOTTOM OF FOURTH: Turner singled to right. Machado struck out swinging. Bellinger struck out swinging. Puig popped to second. DODGERS 0, RED SOX 0

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