Fall classic: Wild trip for Boston infielder Nunez in Game 3
LOS ANGELES — This was a true fall classic for Eduardo Nunez.
The Boston third baseman became a one-man blooper reel when he flipped, tripped, tumbled and sprawled Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series.
“He was all over the place, huh?” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
All that, and he didn’t even enter until the 10th inning.
Nunez wound up hitting the dirt — and the seats — at Dodger Stadium in the longest Series game ever, a 3-2 win in 18 innings by Los Angeles that cut Boston’s edge to 2-1.
“A little sore today, but I’ll be fine tomorrow,” Nunez said.
In a crazy game with lots of late twists and turns, no one better exemplified that than Nunez.
His follies began in the Boston 13th when, with Nunez batting, Brock Holt took off from first on a pitch that bounced. Catcher Austin Barnes scrambled to retrieve the ball in the batter’s box, burrowed into Nunez’s legs and spun him hard onto his back.
“When the catcher ran over him, he felt he was in bad shape,” Cora said. “But like I told him, he’s like, ‘I’m not coming out.’ I said, ‘Well, you can’t come out. We have no more players.’”
Instead, Nunez was just getting warmed up.
He steadied himself and hit a tapper that reliever Scott Alexander fielded on the right side. Nunez made a dive into first base and jarred himself as Alexander’s throw went wild, scoring Holt with the go-ahead run.
In the bottom half, Max Muncy was on first with one out when Cody Bellinger hit a foul popup near the third-base seats. The overshifted Nunez went a long way to make the catch, but backed into the low wall and flipped into the stands .
Nunez somehow emerged from the seats with a smile.
“I was just laughing because everything happened in the wrong time. Unbelievable,” he said. “Any more players this happens every time?”
Muncy moved to second on the play, and scored to make it 2-all when second baseman Ian Kinsler threw away Yasiel Puig’s grounder.
Nunez wasn’t quite finished, either.
In the 16th, he cut across the diamond for Puig’s popup. He caught the ball — and a few more bruises, probably — when he tripped and did a face-first pratfall on the mound.
Once again, he stayed in the game.
“We no have any more players, so I no have choice. I have to be playing,” he said, laughing.
Cora appreciated Nunez’s determination. The 31-year-old from the Dominican Republic hit a three-run homer in the opener.
“It was a tough one for him, but he gave us a great effort. He actually played a good game. He was limping all over the place,” he said.
“It is what it is. There’s a lot of guys a little banged up, but they grind it out,” he said.