BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox could be one win away from another World Series title.
But Ian Kinsler’s bad night in Los Angeles cost them that opportunity. At least for now.
Kinsler came on as a pinch runner the 10th inning of Friday night’s incredible 18-inning affair, and things immediately got off to a rocky start. After a wild trip around the bases where he was nearly out twice, he was gunned down at home trying to score on a sac fly, squandering a scoring opportunity for Boston in a game where those were rare.
But that was not his biggest snafu of the night.
Where Kinsler cost Boston the game, and a 3-0 lead over the Dodgers, was in the field. With Boston up 2-1 in the bottom of the 13th inning, the usually sure-handed second baseman corralled a grounder up the middle off the bat of Yasiel Puig. He overran it and lost his footing briefly, causing him to contort his body a bit. Instead of setting up for a good throw to first, Kinsler fired an off-balance one, and the ball sailed by first baseman Christian Vazquez (not a typo) to allow the game-tying run to score.
Five innings and other opportunities would follow for Boston. But if Kinsler had made that play, the game would have been over. Boston would have had a stranglehold on the series.
Instead, the game continued. Nathan Eovaldi threw more and more pitches, finishing his night with 97 over six-plus innings of relief. His final pitch was deposited into the left field stands by Max Muncy, and the Dodgers walked off with a 3-2 victory. With the series now at 2-1, Los Angeles has new life.
Kinsler is a Gold Glove second baseman. He’s up for his second such award this season. But when a routine play presented itself Friday night, one that should have clinched a World Series victory, he threw it away.
After the loss, Kinsler was devastated when talking about his performance, or lack thereof.
“I just had the last out in my glove and couldn’t get it over there. It was tough to swallow,” he said. “I feel terrible.”
Kinsler apologized to Eovaldi after the game, but the righty would have none of it.
“I told him he had nothing to apologize for,” said Eovaldi. “We’re a team, I know you got my back and I’ve got his and it’s a team effort, it’s not just one guy.”
Eovaldi and Kinsler’s other teammates repeated that in an effort to boost his spirits. But in the moments following the loss, there was nothing they could have said to make Kinsler feel any better. He cost his team a World Series win, and he knew it.
Now all that’s left to do is snap out of it and bounce back. Kinsler and the Red Sox will try to do just that Saturday night in Game 4.