The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to rebound from one of their most disappointing and unexpected defeats when they face the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday in Game 5 of the World Series.
The Dodgers twice needed one more strike to be one victory away from their first championship since 1988. However, a walk, single and an error gave Tampa Bay an 8-7 victory Saturday that tied the best-of-seven series at two games a piece.
With two outs and Kevin Kiermaier on first after a broken-bat single, Randy Arozarena fouled off a slider from Kenley Jansen to get behind on the count 1-2. Jansen’s next two pitches were cutters Arozarena took for balls, making the count 3-2.
Arozarena fouled off the next pitch. Jansen’s seventh pitch in the at-bat was a slider in the dirt to walk Arozarena and advance Kiermaier to second.
The walk brought Brett Phillips to the plate for his first plate appearance since Oct. 7 when he struck out in the eighth inning of the Rays’ 8-4 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 3 of an American League Division Series.
Phillips, who entered Saturday’s game as a pinch runner in the eighth, also got behind in the count 1-2. Phillips singled on the next pitch, driving in Kiermaier.
The ball went off the glove of center fielder Chris Taylor for an error. Right fielder Mookie Betts picked up the ball and threw to first baseman Max Muncy. Arozarena stumbled and fell between third and home, then started retreating to third.
Catcher Will Smith was unable to catch Muncy’s throw and Arozarena headed home, sliding head first into the plate, tapping it with his hands for the winning run.
“It was like that imperfect storm,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just unfortunate.”
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw is set to pitch for the Dodgers Sunday against right-hander Tyler Glasnow at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas in a rematch of the starters in Game 1, won by the Dodgers 8-3, with Kershaw limiting Tampa Bay to two hits over six innings.
“We are going to come in and win the game tomorrow,” Jansen said Saturday.
Of the previous 46 times the World Series has been tied at two games a piece, the team winning Game 5 has gone on to win the Series 30 times, 65.2%. Of the 10 previous World Series the Dodgers have been tied at two games a piece, they went on to win three times, 1955, 1965 and 1981.
The Dodgers took a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth on Corey Seager’s two-out tie-breaking single, his fourth consecutive hit after popping out on his first at-bat. Seager’s first hit was a two-out home run off Ryan Yarbrough in the third.
In the first lead change of the Series, Pedro Baez, the third Dodger pitcher, allowed a three-run homer by Brandon Lowe on a 2-2 four-seam fastball in the sixth, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead.
“He had him 1-2 and didn’t execute a pitch, made a bad pitch, and Lowe put a really good swing on it,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers regained the lead in the seventh on pinch-hitter Joc Pederson’s two-out, two-run single.
Tampa Bay tied the score on Kiermaier’s solo homer in the bottom of the seventh off Baez.
“I take blame for having him go back out,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he initially told Baez he would not pitch in the seventh, but said he changed his mind after the Dodgers regained the lead.
Justin Turner became the first player to hit first-inning home runs in back-to-back World Series games when he sent Ryan Yarbrough’s 2-0 cutter over the center field fence.
Arozarena homered leading off Tampa Bay’s fourth, beginning a streak of eight consecutive half-innings with at least one run, a World Series record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician for Major League Baseball.
The home run was Arozarena’s ninth of the 2020 postseason, setting the record for home runs in a single postseason. The record was set by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2002 and previously tied by Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros in 2004 and Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers in 2011 and Seager earlier Saturday.
Arozarena’s three hits in four at-bats Saturday gave him 26 for the postseason, tying the record set by Pablo Sandoval in 2014 with the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers increased their lead to 4-2 in the fifth when Muncy singled in Sager, who singled with one out and advanced to second on Pete Fairbanks’ wild pitch.
Hunter Refroe homered off Dodger starter Julio Urias leading off the fifth.
Kike Hernandez, the No. 9 hitter in the Dodger lineup, doubled in Smith, who drew a full-count walk from Diego Castillo, the fourth Rays’ pitcher, leading off the sixth.
Urias allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking one. He was removed from the game by manger Dave Roberts with two outs in the fifth inning and throwing 80 pitches and about to face the Rays’ lineup for a third time.
Yarbrough, the Tampa Bay starter, allowed two runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings with one walk and one strikeout.
The Dodgers out-hit the Rays, 15-10. The Dodgers were four-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Tampa Bay was two-for-six with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base.
All the Dodger runs were scored with two outs, increasing their record total for the 2020 postseason to 55. The previous record was 46 by the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, whose roster included Roberts.
Many individual and team postseason records have been broken in 2020 because of the additional round caused the expansion of the playoffs to eight teams in each league, three more than last season.
Jansen, the sixth Dodger pitcher, was charged with the loss, allowing two runs (one unearned) and two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
John Curtiss, the seventh Rays pitcher, was credited with the victory, allowing two hits in 1 1/3 shutout innings.
The 13 pitchers used by the two teams were the most in World Series history for a nine-inning game. Tampa Bay used 21 players, matching the record for a nine-inning World Series game, set by the New York Yankees in 1947 and matched by the Cincinnati Reds in 1961.
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