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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

World Series: 'Do or die' for Los Angeles Dodgers after Boston Red Sox rally late to clinch Game 4

Leading 4-0, the home team transpired to lose 9-6 in another thrilling game at Dodger Stadium as Boston move to within one win of the championship

Boston Red Sox players celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series. Reuters
Boston Red Sox players celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series. Reuters

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts insisted his team's World Series hopes were not over despite a shattering defeat on Saturday night which left the Boston Red Sox poised to win their ninth championship.

Roberts could only watch in dismay as the Dodgers' dreams of a first World Series title in 30 years were left in tatters by a Red Sox rally that handed the visitors a 9-6 win.

The Red Sox now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, and can win the title at Dodger Stadium on Sunday in Game 5.

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History is stacked against Roberts and his expensively-assembled team.

Of 47 previous occasions where a team has led the World Series 3-1, the team leading has gone on to take the title 40 times.

More than half of those victories were completed in Game 5, making it statistically probable that the Dodgers will be forced to watch a rival team celebrate a World Series victory on their home turf for a second straight year.

The Houston Astros won last year's World Series at Dodger Stadium after a win in Game 7.

"It is a tough loss," Roberts said. "Any loss in a World Series is difficult, obviously, but now we're in a situation where we're do or die.

"To their credit, they fought back and won a baseball game. So now it's kind of we've just got to bow our necks and try to win a baseball game and it's one day at a time."

After being outplayed by the Red Sox in the clutch moments for the third time in four games, Roberts was asked whether he believed Boston were simply the best team in the league after a dazzling 108-win regular season.

"Obviously, the 108 wins speaks for itself in the regular season," he said. "They are very balanced. They pitch well. They put together good at-bats. They play defense."

However, he insisted that the Dodgers would not throw in the towel, with star pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the mound for game five on Sunday.

"You know, we've still got to play. And we're not out yet," he said. "We've got to go out there and still, yeah, respect what they've done but our guys aren't done. We've got our best going tomorrow and we're expecting to win a baseball game."

Roberts, whose game management was criticised by President Donald Trump in the wake of the defeat, later defended his decision to withdraw dominant pitcher Rich Hill in the seventh inning.

The Los Angeles boss explained his decision to hook Hill, saying the 38-year-old had indicated he was tiring.

"I had a conversation with Rich, and we talked about it. He said, 'Keep an eye on me. I'm going to give it everything I have. Let's go hitter to hitter and just keep an eye on me,'" Roberts revealed.

"I know Rich did everything he could, competed, left everything out there."