t-4. Mark McGwire, 1988 Oakland A’s. Coming off Kirk Gibson’s historic Game One walk-off, the Dodgers had also taken Game Two and were in position to sweep the favored Oakland A’s as Game Three played out at the Coliseum in Oakland.
The teams, both deep into their bullpens, were tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, and Oakland’s best hope lay in its Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, who were due to bat first and second.
Jay Howell, the fourth Dodger pitcher, disposed of Canseco on a weak popup behind second. McGwire worked the count to 2-2, then lined Howell’s next offering into the left-center field seats for 2-1 victory. No big surprise there; McGwire had hit 32 of them during the regular season.
A’s fans left happy but their euphoria was short-lived. Los Angeles won the next two games to close out the Series in five. McGwire’s home run was almost literally Oakland’s only highlight in one of the Series’ biggest upsets. McGwire Win Probability Added: 42 percent.
t-4. Yasiel Puig, 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers. Game Three of the 2018 World Series between the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox was an epic 18-inning back-and-forth struggle, the longest World Series game ever both in terms of length and time (7 hours, 20 minutes). That left plenty of opportunity for twists and turns.
The biggest of those twists occurred in the bottom of the 13th and erased what was at that point a 2-1 Red Sox lead. The Sox had seized that lead moments before when Eduardo Nunez’ single drove in Brock Holt with what looked at the time like a game-winning run.
Puig had other ideas. After Max Muncy opened the bottom of the 13th with a base on balls, Sox reliever Nathan Eovaldi – working his second of six-plus innings – retired Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger, leaving Muncy – now at second base – as the final obstacle.
But Puig was not ready to quit. On a 1-1 count he grounded a ball past Eovaldi and into center field for the hit that scored Muncy with the re-ting run and ensuring that the contest would be waged for another 90 minutes or so still tied at 2-2.
Not until Muncy homered off Eovaldi leading off the bottom of the 18th could the Dodgers claim what would be their only victory in a Series the Red Sox won in five games. Puig Win Probability Added: 42 percent.