LOS ANGELES – He just kept coming out of the dugout, to the amazement of everyone but himself, it seems.
Over seven innings of the longest game in World Series history, Nathan Eovaldi was an indomitable presence, a rock amid a whirring sea of lineup changes and crazy plays and a once-crisp Game 3 gone wildly askew.
In the end, he was a loser in name only, with a historic effort that drove a teammate to tears and made his manager proud.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won Game 3 after Eovaldi's 97th and final pitch – a backdoor cutter – betrayed him. Max Muncy hit it out of Dodger Stadium, ending the 7 hour, 20 minute affair in favor of the Dodgers, by a 3-2 score.
The Dodgers trimmed Boston's World Series advantage to 2-1.
- Dodgers win wild 18-inning Game 3 on walk-off blast
- Game 3 becomes longest in World Series history
- Muncy's blast revives Dodgers' World Series hopes
Eovaldi captured something as well – the enduring respect of his teammates, and the fascination of a baseball-watching nation that nearly saw one man slay a National League champion that ran six pitchers out to the mound in the span Eovaldi shut down the Dodgers.
He was pitching on two days of rest, and for the third consecutive game, and on his third elbow ligament after two Tommy John surgeries – one as a teenager, another in 2016 – sidetracked his career.
On this night, he covered 18 outs, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out five and zipping fastballs that touched 100 mph at the Dodgers, who rarely made hard contact.
Eovaldi's always been known as a flamethrower, and despite his World Series workload was still firing 98-mph pellets into the 18th inning.
Everyone now knows what else ticks inside him.
"I felt pretty privileged to watch what Nathan did tonight," says Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings seemingly a lifetime before Eovaldi graced the mound. "To come out of the bullpen two days in a row, and come out and throw all those pitches tonight, that was the most incredible (effort) I think I’ve seen.
"I actually, after the game was over, started crying because he literally gave everything he had on every single pitch. It was special. It was a lot of fun to watch. It’s the epitome of reaching down deep, and I’m really proud of him.
"We came up one run short. So be it. We’ll be back tomorrow."
Eovaldi won't be – though he said he'd be available if need be. His emotional temperature was so even after the game it was hard to tell if he was joking.
Perhaps that explains how he held the Dodgers to just one unearned run from the 12th through the 16th innings, and would have made off with the victory had Ian Kinsler not misplayed a two-out grounder in the 13th.
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