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Ian Kinsler's error looms large in Red Sox defeat: 'I feel terrible'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 10/27/2018 Gabe Lacques
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LOS ANGELES — The significance of Ian Kinsler's error was not lost on him. 

The potential enormity of it is something he and the Boston Red Sox will not dare consider unless this World Series turns permanently against them. 

Forty-six players participated in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium, and somehow, after 7 hours and 20 minutes of absurd baseball, a hero and goat emerged in the haze.

In the longest World Series game in history, Max Muncy's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 18th inning ended the delirium, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 victory and casting Muncy immediately into the pantheon of Dodgers World Series heroes. 

Five innings earlier, Kinsler tempted history.

With the Red Sox one out from seizing a 3-0 Series lead, Kinsler seemed to lose his footing fielding Yasiel Puig's ground ball and then, rather than set himself, rushed the throw to first. It pulled Christian Vazquez - playing his first game ever at first base - wide of the bag.

The Dodgers had life. Five innings later, it was a 2-1 Series and Kinsler knew the culprit for that. 

"I had an opportunity to end the game right there," he said, "and it didn’t happen." 

More accurately: He had a chance to end the World Series. 

MORE FROM GAME 3:

A 3-0 Red Sox lead would have made Saturday's Game 4 house money, really. A team that won 108 games in the regular season with four chances to close it out? Fire up the duck boats and cancel school - a fourth Red Sox title this century would have been mere formality. 

Instead, what happens next will determine whether Kinsler's gaffe is a footnote in their epic championship story, or if his name is forever evoked in Bucknerian terms throughout New England.

Such ghastly thoughts weren't voiced after Game 3. Red Sox manager Alex Cora has truly fostered a family environment, and themes of picking up teammates and winning and losing together seeped from their clubhouse after the disastrous loss. 

“I feel terrible," Kinsler said. “I feel like I let the team down right there. I just had the last out in my glove and couldn’t get it over there. It was tough to swallow.’’

Kinsler, 36, was acquired July 30 for this championship run. He had an RBI single in Game 2, but Game 3 turned on him almost immediately after he took the stage: He was thrown out at home trying to score on a shallow fly ball in a 10th-inning pinch running appearance.

His error stretched the game so long, Kinsler took three at-bats, and was hitless in all of them.

He appreciated his teammates' sentiments but knows they don't mean much in the big picture. 

"There is nothing they can say in that moment that is going to help make me any feel better," he says. "That’s up to me to just move on."  

In that sense, the clock is his ally. Kinsler voiced those sentiments as the clock neared 1 a.m. at Dodger Stadium. Game 4 was just 16 hours away. 

He will put more imprints on this World Series. But he has little control over how he'll be ultimately be remembered.

"I feel like I let the team down right there," he says, "and feel like the next opportunity I get, I’ll take it."

Sleep fast.

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Related slideshow: 2018 World Series (Provided by photo services)


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