Los Angeles Times
For hours, we lived and died, with Dodgers, then lived again
First, there was the throw, a soaring shot from the left arm of Cody Bellinger that seemingly saved the game.
Then there were extra innings. Lots of extra innings.
Home is where their heart beat, loudly, powerfully, finally.
Home sweet Dodgers, and this World Series remained a series late into the night.
On a warm Friday night that shook Chavez Ravine and the Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers returned home to their history, their hysteria, and a Game 3 that produced more than six hours of excitement.
They overcame a game-tying homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. against closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth. They overcame a runners-at-the-corners rally in the 10th with Bellinger’s throw. They overcame a 13th-inning Red Sox run on a throwing error by pitcher Scott Alexander, countering with a run of their own in the bottom of the 13th on Ian Kinsler’s throwing error.
Now, can they actually survive the Series? They began the night facing a two-games-to-none deficit and everyone talking sweep.
If they can win behind starter Rich Hill on Saturday, they can go into Game 5 on Sunday with Clay-
ton Kershaw on the mound, and even with his spotty postseason record, he still can own Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers thought they owned the place for most of eight innings Friday night.
They were four outs from a victory that could have saved their season.
The Dodgers were on the verge of a win to get back into the World Series, clinging to a 1-0 lead with two out in the eighth inning.
Then they were flirting with a three-games-to-none deficit in this seven-game duel, a deficit that has never been overcome in World Series history.
And to think, on a beautiful night at Chavez Ravine, it was all going so smoothly.
Walker Buehler, 24, the Dodgers’ youngest World Series pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, threw seven innings of brilliance, allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
He mowed down the first six hitters, allowed singles to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez, then retired the next 14 hitters before leaving the game. Only five of those 14 even hit the ball to the outfield. The final out of his night was the most dramatic, a swinging strikeout of powerful J.D. Martinez with two out in the seventh.
After Martinez swung through the 98-mph fastball, Buehler stared at him while the crowd roared, the standing ovation punctuated with chants of “Buehler!” The energy in the stadium was so powerful at that moment, it was if the Dodgers could work through the final two innings on inspiration alone.
The Dodgers were holding a 1-0 lead forged by Joc Pederson’s third-inning homer, and all was well … until Jansen took the mound.
The Dodgers’ closer entered the eighth and quickly retired his first two hitters, Brock Holt on a flyout and Rafael Devers on a flailing strikeout. But then he fell behind 2-and-0 to Bradley, and here came trouble, a 93-mph cutter waist high, and Bradley turned on it. The smash landed in the right-field pavilion, stunning enough to silence the crowd, dramatic enough that Yasiel Puig actually climbed on the right-field fence and hung on to watch.
It was Jansen’s first World Series appearance this season, but it was reminiscent of what happened in last year’s World Series.
It was Jansen who allowed the home run to Marwin Gonzalez in ninth inning of last year’s stunning 7-6 loss in 11 innings in Game 2. It was also Jansen who has struggled with fat pitches throughout this season, allowing 13 home runs, more than twice as many as any of his previous eight seasons combined.
After Jansen had blown the game, the Dodgers went about trying to salvage it by mounting uprisings in both the ninth while, one inning later, benefiting from one of the greatest outfield throws in Dodger postseason history.
Bellinger hit a leadoff single in the ninth against surprise pitcher David Price, but it was ruined when Bellinger was caught by Price while attempting to steal, and was thrown out in a rundown. Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor each drew walks, but pinchhitter Brian Dozier fouled out to catcher Vasquez.
Then came the throw. It happened when the Red Sox seemed certain to score in the top of the 10th against Pedro Baez after Martinez walked, then, with pinchrunner Ian Kinsler flying, Holt singled up the middle to put runners on first and third with one out. Up stepped Game 1 hero Eduardo Nunez, who hit a fly to shallow center field. It was caught by Bellinger, who flung it home to Austin Barnes, who caught the ball up the line, on the fly, and tagged a stunned Kinsler across the Boston logo on his jersey.
The stadium shook with the roar, Bellinger danced in from center field with his left arm in the sky, his eyes wide with wonder.
The day began in glory, fans chanting, “Let’s Go Dodgers” even before the first pitch, and then there was Magic, as Dodgers co-owner Earvin Johnson joined former manager Tom Lasorda on the mound as Lasorda threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Johnson was introduced as “a guy who knows a thing or two about beating Boston.”
Manny Machado could learn something from his boss. With two out in the sixth, he hit a single off the left-field wall. You read that right. Machado hit what should have been easily a double, but he jogged so casually, he was barely at first base by the time left fielder Martinez picked up the ball.
Machado has been doing this sort of nonsense since he joined the Dodgers in a trade in late summer. The Dodgers will surely not bring him back as a free agent, no matter his ability. His heart is not in it.
The beginning of the game also felt perfect.Leadoff hitter Pederson changed his walkup music to “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake.
It’s a catchy tune. It’s an effective one.
On the first pitch of Pederson’s second at-bat, he lined a hanging changeup into the right-field pavilion for a home run, and the song made sense.
“I got this feelin’ inside my bones, it goes electric wavy when I turn it on. All through my city, all through my home, we’re flyin’ up, no ceiling when we in our zone.
No ceiling indeed.