In the aftermath of the lowest point for the 2018 Boston Red Sox, Alex Cora saw reason for hope.
Despite winning the first two games of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cora’s team was dealt a potentially devastating blow in Game 3 of the Fall Classic at Chavez Ravine.
Six heroic innings of relief from Red Sox folk hero Nathan Eovaldi fell just short, as the Dodgers walked off on the Red Sox in the 18th inning on a home run by Max Muncy. When the ball settled in the Dodger Stadium seats, the momentum of the World Series — firmly owned by Boston to that point in the series — transferred to the National League champion Dodgers.
Yet, in that moment and the moments that followed the game, Cora believed the Red Sox actually won the 2018 World Series.
“Honestly, I think we won the Series in that Game 3,” Cora recently told The Boston Globe for a story in which the World Series-winning manager was named Bostonian of the Year. “I mean, game over. There were three things that I clearly remember from that day. The ground ball to Ian (Kinsler), I’m there, sitting there, and David (Price) starts going out to celebrate in the 13th inning. When Ian makes the error, David is going out, and he throws the ball away, and he comes right up like, ‘Oh!’
“And then when Nate gives up the home run, David is sitting right next to me, goes across to go outside the dugout, and he waits for Nate. Follows him inside and I said, ‘David, get everybody together.’ We got together, and I said, ‘Thank you for the effort from pitch one all the way til 7 hours and 15 minutes. We were all in. When we finish this thing and we win this thing, people are not going to remember who won Game 3. They’re going to remember Nate Eovaldi.’ And people stood up and clapped. It was awesome. (Rick) Porcello was crying. At that moment I knew, they’re done.
“I went to a press conference and somebody asked me, ‘How do you guys bounce back from this devastating loss?’ I’m like, ‘What? Devastating? It’s a 2-1 series! It’s just one game.’ And then somebody asked me something in the same terms and I said, ‘We’ll see you tomorrow, we’ll show up tomorrow.’ And we did.”
Boston bounced back with a vengeance, scoring nine runs over the final three innings of a Game 4 comeback win before finishing the job in the deciding Game 5 behind, of course, Price.