Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers
Arlington (United States) (AFP) –
Brett Phillips's single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena raced around from first but tripped between third and home and looked done for. However, when Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate, Arozarena was able to pick himself up and throw himself across the plate in time.
"Golly, what a special moment," Phillips said. "I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words. Baseball is fun. Wow."
Kiermaier called the ending -- which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, "truly incredible."
"We have no quit," Kiermaier added. "We have been doing that all year. We've been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter."
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title -- but a first since 1988.
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager's was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
- Two run double -
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe -- the two-homer hero of the Rays' game-two victory -- put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs -- continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn't be denied, Kiermaier's homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
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