LOS ANGELES — Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce hit home runs, and Rafael Devers had a go-ahead single in a five-run ninth inning as the Boston Red Sox got their offense back on track to move one win from a World Series title with a 9-6 victory in Game 4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Red Sox took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven-series and are one victory away from their fourth World Series title since 2004. Game 5 is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers appeared to be on their way to getting even in the series with four runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Red Sox answered quickly, though, when Moreland hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter. The homer came off Dodgers right-hander Ryan Madson, who has allowed all seven of his inherited runners in the series to score.
Jansen struggles again
Using the same strategy that nearly haunted them in Game 3 on Friday, the Dodgers called on closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning. And for the second consecutive game, the Red Sox delivered a game-tying home run, this one from Pearce to even the score 4-4.
The Red Sox went ahead for good in the ninth inning. Brock Holt hit a one-out double off reliever Dylan Floro, and pinch hitter Devers followed with an RBI single for a 5-4 lead. The Red Sox put the game out of reach with Pearce’s three-run double off Kenta Maeda, followed by Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single.
Los Angeles scored two in the bottom of the ninth off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel on an Enrique Hernandez home run but was unable to get any closer.
The Dodgers had been 54-0 this season, including playoffs, when holding a four-run lead at any point of the game. They were the only team without a loss when leading by four runs, before Saturday.
Starter Rich Hill set the tone for the Dodgers in an early pitchers’ duel with Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Hill did not allow a hit until a Christian Vazquez single in the fifth inning. Hill gave up one run on one hit over 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
Rodriguez, who was making his first career postseason start, was nearly as good, giving up just two hits through five scoreless innings. It started to unravel when Rodriguez hit David Freese with a pitch to lead off the sixth inning.
After a one-out double from Justin Turner, Manny Machado was walked intentionally to load the bases. Rodriguez appeared to get the double play he needed on Cody Bellinger, but the 3-2-3 play went awry when Vazquez’s return throw from home plate to first sailed into foul territory in right field.
Pinch runner Hernandez was forced out at home on the play, but Turner scored from second on the error for a 1-0 Dodgers lead.
Yasiel Puig followed with a home run deep into the seats in left field on a 3-1 pitch to give the Dodgers their 4-0 lead. Rodriguez gave up four runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings.
It will be a battle of staff aces in Game 5 when the Red Sox’s Chris Sale squares off against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. The left-handers also met in Game 1, each failing to record an out in the fifth inning, with the Red Sox coming away with the victory.
–Doug Padilla, Field Level Media