Well before Walker Buehler put the finishing touches on his gem or Max Muncy played the role of hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers with a walk-off home run, Joc Pederson provided them with a lead in the third inning.
Pederson ambushed Rick Porcello’s first pitch for a two-out solo home run down the right-field line. The homer was Pederson’s fourth of his career in the World Series, which is tied for third-most in franchise history.
Duke Snider (11) and Gil Hodges (5) are the only Dodgers players who have hit more home runs than Pederson in the World Series. The 1-0 lead he provided held up until Kenley Jansen surrendered a game-tying homer to Jackie Bradley Jr. with two outs in the eighth.
It was one of multiple evens that factored into Game 3 going 18 innings and lasting 7 hours and 20 minutes, marking the longest (length and time) World Series game in MLB history.
With the game still tied, Nathan Eovaldi, who was expected to start Game 4 for the Red Sox, entered out of the bullpen. He tossed six innings before allowing the homer to Muncy to lead off the bottom of the 18th.
“Eovaldi was nasty,” Pederson said after the Dodgers’ dramatic win. “Just tried to wear him down. He’s throwing 101 with a 95 mph cutter. Hopefully he’s done until Game 7 or something.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was similarly effusive of the right-hander, even though the success came at the expense of his club. “What he did for that club, for me on the other side, we were kind of victim of it, but it was fun to watch,” Roberts said.
As for Pederson’s growing track record of postseason home runs, Roberts pointed to his key blast in Game 5 of the 2016 National League Division Series as a starting point of sorts. “Joc has really matured over the last three years,” Roberts added.
“And he looks over the baseball very well. And when he can stay in the strike zone, he’s very dangerous. And you look at his career in the postseason, he’s had a lot of big homers, against some very good pitching, obviously. He doesn’t let the moment get too big for him. And that hit to get us going was big.”