Dodgers rebound to down Rays, move one win from World Series title
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Arlington (United States) (AFP) –
The Los Angels Dodgers shook off a crushing defeat to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Sunday and move within one victory of their first World Series title in 32 years.
Joc Pederson and Max Muncy homered for the Dodgers and star pitcher Clayton Kershaw notched the 13th post-season win of his career as Los Angeles took a three-games-to-two lead in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship series.
"Tonight was a grind, all the way through," said Kershaw. "My slider wasn't as good as it was in game one. But I stuck with the game plan."
The Dodgers, who came up agonizingly short in World Series appearances in 2017 and 2018, can lock up their first title since 1988 in game six at Globe Life Field in Arlington on Tuesday.
Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award-winner whose Hall of Fame resume is lacking a World Series title, pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits.
His six strikeouts took his career post-season tally to a record 207 -- surpassing the 205 of Justin Verlander.
"It is very exciting, but at same time we got to win one more. I am going to keep it together for one more game," he said.
The Dodgers insisted they were over the disappointment of game four, when a couple of Dodgers errors helped the Rays walk off 8-7 winners after being down to their last strike.
It certainly looked as if they were when they leapt on Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow in the first inning.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said battling Glasnow and pushing up his pitch count would be key, and Los Angeles did a good job of it.
Mookie Betts led off with a stand-up double and scored on a single from Seager. Seager reached second and third on two wild pitches from Glasnow and scored on a single from Cody Bellinger before Glasnow -- who became the first pitcher to throw three wild pitches in a World Series game -- ended the inning after throwing 34 pitches.
Pederson led off the second with a home run, clubbing a 98 mph fastball from Glasnow over the left centerfield wall to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
Muncy's towering homer off a Glasnow fastball with two outs in the fifth put the Dodgers up 4-2.
The Rays had pulled back two runs in the bottom of the third when Yandy Diaz belted a line drive down the right field line that Betts couldn't corral for a run-scoring triple.
Diaz scored on a single from Randy Arozarena, whose 27th hit of these playoffs gave him the record for most in a single post-season.
Kershaw kept the Rays from building any momentum, despite the aggressive efforts of Manuel Margot, who drew a walk to lead off the fourth, stole second and reached third when the attempt to catch him at second failed.
Kershaw nailed Margot as he tried to steal home to end the inning and retired three straight in the fifth and two in the sixth before handing over to Dustin May.
May recorded five outs before yielding to Victor Gonzalez, who faced the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth but retired Arozarena and Brandon Lowe to end the inning.
Blake Treinen gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but retired the next three to gain the save.
© 2020 AFP