The Boston Red Sox are one win away from a World Series championship.
Boston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6 Saturday night to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Rafael Devers delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to give the Red Sox their first lead of the game, and Steve Pearce added a three-run double to blow the game open.
Boston trailed 4-0 in the seventh before Mitch Moreland connected on a three-run home run. Pearce launched a solo homer in the eighth to tie the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez pitched well but didn’t factor into the decision. Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-run homer in the ninth to Kike Hernandez, but ultimately sealed the win.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox appeared dead and destined to allow the Dodgers to even the series at two games apiece. But a furious late-innings rally has Boston within one game of claiming baseball’s ultimate prize.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez pitched far better than his stat line suggests.
The left-hander dominated the Dodgers through five innings, holding Los Angeles scoreless while allowing just one hit. But a series of unfortunate events spelled his undoing in the sixth inning.
Rodriguez started the frame by hitting David Freese on the first pitch. He responded by striking out Max Muncy, who probably should’ve been the last hitter he faced. But Alex Cora left Rodriguez in, and the 25-year-old promptly surrendered a double to Justin Turner before intentionally walking Manny Machado to load the bases with one out.
Then this happened:
At the very least, Christian Vazquez probably should’ve held the ball instead of gambling with a throw to first base. Instead, the Dodgers scored the first run of the game and left men on first and third with two outs for Yasiel Puig, who crushed a three-run homer to left field.
Should Rodriguez have been in the game to face Puig? The numbers suggest the Dodgers slugger struggles against lefties, but the eye test would tell you that Rodriguez was out of gas.
All told, Rodriguez allowed four earned runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two in his first start since Sept. 20.
— Matt Barnes came on in relief and walked Chris Taylor before striking out Austin Barnes to end the inning.
— Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning. The Dodgers put men on first and third with two outs in the eighth, but Kelly struck out Yasmani Grandal to end the threat.
The right-hander picked up the win, his first of the postseason.
— Kimbrel was shaky in the ninth, but was able to lock down the victory.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Through 24 innings in Los Angeles, “anemic” was the best word to describe Boston’s offense. The Red Sox had just one hit through six in Game 4, continuing a pitiful stretch that encompassed much of Friday night’s Game 3. Dodgers starter Rich Hill baffled Boston’s hitters over 6 1/3 dominant innings before handing the ball to right-hander Ryan Madson.
— Moreland pinch-hit with two outs in the seventh and delivered a titanic, 437-foot homer off Madson.
— Until Pearce stepped to the plate in the eighth inning, the 1-4 hitters in Boston’s lineup were hitless (!) at Dodger Stadium. But the first baseman took Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen deep with a one-out, solo home run to tie the game.
— Jansen came back out for the ninth and retired Eduardo Nunez to begin the frame. Brock Holt then doubled down the left field line, setting the stage for Devers’ heroics.
— The Red Sox went on to load the bases with two outs. Pearce stepped to the plate and delivered a bases-clearing double.
— Xander Bogaerts tacked on an RBI single to account for the final score.
— The Red Sox once again won in spite of struggles from their marquee hitters. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez both went hitless.
— Bogaerts, Holt and Vazquez each finished with a hit apiece. Pearce finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
TWEET OF THE GAME
The Red Sox and Dodgers will square off Sunday night in Game 5. David Price will start for Boston, while Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for L.A. First pitch at Dodger Stadium is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin/Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Images