The Los Angeles Dodgers lost Game 4 of the World Series in the most heartbreaking way possible as the Tampa Bay Rays scored two runs off Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning to earn an 8-7 walk-off win that tied the series at two games apiece.
It was a back and forth affair all night, but L.A. managed to take a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth with Jansen coming in to close it out. He got a strikeout to begin the inning before giving up a bloop single to Kevin Kiermaier.
After a fly out and walk, Jansen faced Brett Phillips with two on and two outs. Phillips hadn’t had an at-bat in weeks, but he was able to come through with a blooper up the middle on what was a mistake pitch with two strikes.
That not only scored the tying run but also the winning run as Randy Arozarena came all the way around from first. Chris Taylor bobbled the ball before making a relay throw and Will Smith dropped it in anticipation of turning to make a quick tag.
Jansen was among the Dodgers to carry a positive disposition in the face of the deflating loss. “We’ve got to stay positive,” he said. “We’re going to be back tomorrow. We know we’re good and we’re going to come and win that game tomorrow. …
We’ve got Kersh going and we’ve been here before. It ain’t no time to hang our heads. Great game, they won this one, and tomorrow we’re going to come out there and give it everything we’ve got.”
The two pitches Jansen gave up hits on were both lower than where Smith was set up, but he still feels they were good pitches.
“I didn’t give up one hard hit. What can I do? Can’t do anything with that,” Jansen said. “Threw the pitches where I wanted. Credit to the hitters. A broken-bat single and then a bloop single, ain’t no time to hang our heads.”
Jansen focused on moving forward, not mistakes in Game 4
Despite Taylor’s bobble, the Dodgers still had a golden opportunity to keep the game tied as Arozarena tripped and fell between third and home.
As a pitcher, Jansen should have been backing up home plate, which not only would have put him in a spot to retrieve the ball and potentially get Arozarena out at the plate, but it also would have allowed him to see the whole play to let Smith know that the runner had fallen and he didn’t need to rush.
However, asked about why he didn’t back up home plate, Jansen was focused on staying positive moving forward. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Tomorrow is another day. We’re positive in there.”
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