By Jon Weisman
In the ninth inning today, the Dodgers trailed 4-3, the exact deficit they faced in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
But this time, they had already used their pinch-hit, two-run home run. And this time, the ninth-inning home run was hit by the visitors. And that wasn’t all.
Putting its foot down with a four-run top of the ninth, Washington won, 8-3, leaving the Dodgers with no choice to save their season but to win Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday and then Game 5 at Washington on Thursday.
Despite Carlos Ruiz hitting the first pinch-hit playoff homer by the home team in Los Angeles since Kirk Gibson, the Dodgers lost the first home playoff game since the retirement of the man who called Gibson’s homer, Vin Scully.
The Dodgers used 21 players — tying the team record for a playoff game and setting the team record for a nine-inning game — in the longest nine-inning playoff game in franchise history (4:12).
Game 4 of the NLDS will take place at 2:05 p.m. Tuesday if the Giants defeat the Cubs in San Francisco tonight, or at 5:08 p.m. if the Cubs eliminate the Giants.