Blake Snell was utterly dominant and was only stopped by a controversial pitching change that proved key in the Los Angeles Dodgers coming back to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays and capture their first World Series title since 1988.
Back as the home team after three games, the Dodgers were tasked with keeping the Rays off the scoreboard before they could hit. That went awry when Randy Arozarena lined a slider outside of the zone into the right-field stands for a solo home run.
Tony Gonsolin followed that by allowing a single and issuing a walk to give the Rays a pair of baserunners with one out in the first inning. He wasn’t sharp but worked out of the jam to minimize damage.
Kevin Kiermaier doubled in the second inning and Ji-Man Choi walked with two outs, marking the end of the night for Gonsolin. He was hopeful being on a regular routine would lend to improved results but Gonsolin remained unable to shake his postseason struggles.
The Dodgers bullpen turned in a stellar effort as Snell continued to mow his way through their lineup. He struck out the side in the first inning and did so again in the third. It wasn’t until the fifth that a Dodgers batter didn’t strike out.
Their first hit was a Chris Taylor leadoff single in the third. He moved into scoring position on a groundout, but was stranded when Mookie Betts chased a fastball out of the zone. Much to his dismay, Snell was removed after allowing a single to Austin Barnes with one out in the sixth inning.
The decision immediately backfired as Nick Anderson gave up a double to Betts and threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. The Rays’ infield being drawn in made little difference on Corey Seager’s chopper up the first-base line as it was hit softly enough for Betts to dive into home for the go-ahead run.
Further magnifying Rays manager Kevin Cash’s decision was Snell held Betts, Seager and Justin Turner to a combined 0-for-6 with six strikeouts.
Brusdar Graterol retired two of three batters faced in the seventh, then was replaced by Julio Urias. He added to what’s been an incredible postseason showing by finishing out the 3-1 win.
Urias was provided some insurance by Betts’ solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
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