Baseball: Maeda, Dodgers take World Series Game 3 on Muncy’s homer

Max Muncy’s 18th-inning home run lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox in the longest World Series game in history on Friday.

With Nate Eovaldi (0-1) working his seventh inning of relief at Dodger Stadium, Muncy crushed a high 3-2 cutter, Eovaldi’s 97th pitch, just over the wall in left center to earn the Dodgers’ first win of the best-of-seven series. The Red Sox still lead two games to one despite their defeat in the seven-hour, 20-minute ultra marathon.

Muncy had come within inches of ending the game when his fly down the right-field line went just foul in the bottom of the 15th, moments after Japan’s Kenta Maeda had pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam with the game tied 2-2.

(Maeda reacts after pitching out of a jam)

Maeda, who struck out five over two scoreless innings, surrendered a leadoff hit in and a walk in the top of the 15th before turning his night around with his glove work.

The right-hander pounced on a bunt down the third base line, threw and forced the lead runner. He then struck out the last five batters he faced.

«Although I was pressing a little bit there with two and no outs, I was able to execute my pitches, and that made the difference,» Maeda said. «Getting that out was a turning point. I found another gear and found myself able to concentrate completely on the next hitter.»

«I was uncertain whether he was going to try to bunt, until he squared away on the first pitch (a ball). Once I confirmed that I was going to go for the lead out,» he said.

Joc Pederson homered the Dodgers into an early lead in the third, and Walker Buehler fanned seven and scattered two hits over seven solid innings. The Red Sox tied it, however, in the eighth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. equalized with a solo home run against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

(Pederson’s homer gives the Dodgers an early lead)

The Red Sox went ahead briefly on Eduardo Nunez’s single and a throwing error in the top of the 13th, before the Dodgers tied on a similar play in the home half of the inning, courtesy of a single from Yasiel Puig and an error that brought Muncy home from second.

On Wednesday, Maeda became the first Japanese pitcher to take the mound in a World Series game for two straight seasons, following his 2/3-inning outing in the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss in Game 2.

Last year, he made four relief appearances in the seven-game series alongside former teammate Yu Darvish, when the Houston Astros beat the Dodgers for their first World Series title.

Maeda went 8-10 with a 3.81 ERA over 39 games during the regular season. Prior to Game 3, he allowed two runs and six hits while striking out five over six games this postseason.

All — Kyodo News+

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