The Los Angeles Dodgers were handed a stunning 9-6 loss at the hands of the Boston Red Sox in game four of the World Series on Saturday evening.
The Dodgers climbed to a 4-0 lead at one point of Game 4, but their bullpen failed to preserve that cushion. The Red Sox rallied to score nine unanswered runs.
Now down 3-1 in the series, the Dodgers must win out the final three games if they want to hoist a championship trophy.
It was an unusual circumstance for a Game 4, given that Game 3 went 18 innings and essentially was two games in one.
It was going to be a challenge for both teams to properly utilize rosters that were extensively taxed during that game three marathon campaign.
The Dodgers earned themselves an expensive victory on the Max Muncy walk-off homer in Game 3, so obviously, their morale was better than the Red Sox lineup heading into this contest which had found itself suffering from an extremely costly defeat.
Nathan Eovaldi was originally expected to be the Red Sox starter for Game 4, but he was forced to pitch six innings of relief in Game 3.
Due to those unexpected developments, Eduardo Rodriguez got the nod in this affair, since Rodriguez had only pitched to one batter in relief during Game 3.
Rodriguez became the first pitcher since 1924 to start a World Series game after making a relief appearance in the previous game.
The Dodgers and Red Sox each used eight pitchers in relief in Game 3, and it was imperative for Game 4 that not only each squad be especially judicious with their bullpen, but also lean on their starting pitchers to eat up innings.
The Dodgers started Rich Hill, who had most recently pitched an inning of mop-up duty in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers.
His last start had come in game four of that NLCS, in which he pitched five innings and gave up one earned run, three hits, and three walks.
Rodriguez is a lefty, but Dave Roberts didn’t go with his typical starting lineup against left-handed pitchers. Muncy started at second, Cody Bellinger started in center, and Yasiel Puig started in right.
It was a compelling pitchers’ duel between the two starters to begin the game, as neither offense was able to generate anything meaningful through the first five innings.
The Dodgers finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth. David Freese led off the inning being hit with a pitch on the kneecap. Kike Hernandez was put in to run for Freese. Justin Turner came up next and doubled to left, moving Hernandez to third.
Machado was intentionally walked to load the bases. Bellinger hit into a fielder’s choice, as the Red Sox got the out at home but Christian Vazquez threw it wild to first on the double-play attempt, which allowed Turner to score.
Puig stepped up to the plate next with runners at the corners with two outs. He responded by smacking a three-run homer to left field to put the Dodgers up, 4-0.
That was it for Rodriguez, who went 5.2 innings and gave up four earned runs, four hits, and two walks. He was replaced with Matt Barnes.
Hill started the top of the seventh. Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a walk, and then Hill got Nunez to strike out.
Jackie Bradley Jr. pinch-hit for Vasquez, and Madson coaxed a pop out. Mitch Moreland then pinch-hit for Barnes and blasted a three-run homer to cut the Dodgers lead to 4-3.
Hill finished with 6.1 innings and one earned run allowed, as he was responsible for the Bogaerts run that scored on the Moreland homer. He only allowed one hit and three walks.
Joe Kelly came in to pitch for the Red Sox in the bottom of the seventh and got out of the inning without giving up any runs.
Jansen came in at the beginning of the eighth innings, and he gave up a game-tying home run to Steve Pearce to make the game 4-4.
Kelly pitched another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth to keep the game tied and send things to the ninth inning.
Dylan Floro came in to pitch the ninth inning for the Dodgers. Jansen finished with one inning pitched and an earned run allowed on the homer he gave up.
Floro gave up a double to Holt with one out, and then Devers delivered a pinch-hit single to bring Holt home and put the Red Sox ahead.
A hit-and-run kept the Red Sox out of a double play when Blake Swihart grounded into a fielder’s choice to make it two outs in the inning with a runner on second.
Lefty Alex Wood came in to replace Floro and face the left-handed batter Benintendi, who beat out a slow roller to third base to load the bases for Pearce.
Kenta Maeda came in after Wood faced one batter, and Pearce cleared the bases with a double to give the Red Sox an 8-4 lead.
J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked, and then the Red Sox stretched their lead to 9-4 after a Bogaerts single brought Pearce home
That created runners at the corners with two outs for Nunez, but Maeda got him to fly out to end the top of the ninth with the score 9-4.
In that ninth inning, Floro was charged with three earned runs while Wood and Maeda were each charged with one earned run.
Craig Kimbrel came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Red Sox, and the Dodgers refused to go away quietly.
Brian Dozier led off the inning with a walk, and then Hernandez hit a two-run homer to cut the Red Sox lead to 9-6.
Muncy grounded out, but Justin Turner followed that up by singling to left. Machado nearly had himself an infield hit, but Devers made a tremendous play at third to collect the ground ball and throw him out at first.
Turner moved to second, and Bellinger stepped to the plate with two outs in the inning. With the batter representing the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Bellinger flew out to end the game.