Though it took nearly six hours and 12 innings to reach an outcome, the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out a hard-fought 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Sunday’s three-game finale at Fenway Park.
It was a complete team effort, as the Dodgers burned through their entire bench and most of the bullpen in the marathon. After seven solid innings from Ryu in his first start of the second half, Pedro Baez entered the game in the eighth looking to protect Los Angeles’ 4-2 lead.
The right-hander struggled, potentially due to tipping pitches, yielding back-to-back home runs that allowed the Red Sox to pull even. The game remained tied entering the bottom of the ninth, where a combination of Zac Rosscup, Yimi Garcia and Kenley Jansen kept things at bay.
Though it wasn’t a save situation, Jansen insisted on getting into the game because he wanted to face the heart of the Red Sox lineup in the high-leverage situation, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Listen, the whole year these guys pick me up,” Jansen said. “Just wanted us to win this ballgame, beat the defending champ. You could see them knowing that they want to beat us bad, and we try to do the same thing. It’s already extra innings, their best lineup is coming up. Men on base. I respect all my guys, but I’d rather take the ball against the best hitters.”
Jansen entered the ninth inning with runners on first and second base, needing to record a pair of outs to extend the game into extra innings. With the heart of the Red Sox lineup coming up, he promptly retired Rafael Devers and struck out Xander Bogaerts to escape the jam.
The 31-year-old returned for the 10th inning and immediately set the tone by striking out J.D. Martinez, who just two innings prior tied the game with a long home run off Baez.
After issuing a one-out walk to Christian Vazquez, Jansen settled down from there by retiring Andrew Benintendi and Brock Holt — pushing the game to the 11th. The all-time Dodgers saves leader ultimately logged 1.2 scoreless innings, yielding just one baserunner while accumulating three strikeouts.
The Dodgers would eventually score three runs in the 12th, giving Dylan Floro and Joe Kelly a comfortable cushion in the bottom of the frame. Kelly, who recorded his first save against his former team, credited Jansen for inspiring the rest of the bullpen with his performance.