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Rays Beat Dodgers, Even World Series at 1-1

Rays Dodgers

Rays 6, Dodgers 4
2020 World Series, Game Two

Second baseman Brandon Lowe hit two home runs and drove in three runs Wednesday night, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the 2020 World Series in Arlington, Texas. The Rays victory evened the best-of-seven Series at one game apiece.

Rays Start Early

Lowe opened the scoring with a one-out homer to left-center in the top of the first off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin. In the top of the second, Gonsolin walked the first hitter he faced, right fielder Manuel Margot. Third baseman Joey Wendle came up next, and after Margot stole second, he flied to center. However, it was deep enough for the speedy Margot to tag and advance to third.

That ended Gonsolin’s day, as Dylan Floro took over on the mound. The first batter he faced was shortstop Willy Adames, and the infield played in. Adames hit a sharp grounder to short. Margot broke for home on contact, and Seager threw him out by several feet for the second out. As center fielder Kevin Kiermaier batted, Margot broke for second. He initially appeared to beat catcher Will Smith’s strong throw, but replays showed that Adames’ hand hit shortstop Corey Seager’s foot before hitting the bag. In that brief delay, Seager tagged his shoulder; therefore, Adames was out, retiring the side.

Seemingly every time in the 2020 Postseason that a team gave away outs on the bases against the Dodgers, it has come back to haunt them later. It appeared like it might in the bottom of the second, when two walks put runners on first and second with one out. However, a foul popup by DH AJ Pollock and strikeout by second baseman Kiké Hernández rendered them harmless.

Rays Capitalize on Fielding Mistake by Dodgers

The Rays tacked on two more in the top of the fourth against relievers Victor Gonzalez and Dustin May. It started after a fielding mistake that did not show up in the box score. With one out and left fielder Randy Arozarena on first, first baseman Ji-Man Choi hit a sharp grounder to second. Had Hernández fielded it cleanly, it would have had a good chance at being a double play, but he bobbled it and only managed to get the force play at second.

Since baseball rules tell the scorer to never assume a double play, it went down as a fielder’s choice and not an error. But it gave the Rays another chance, and they capitalized. Margot singled, advancing Choi to second. Wendle followed with a double to center, scoring both runners and making the score 3-0. The score became 5-0 in the top of the fifth after a two-out single by DH Austin Meadows and a two-run blast by Lowe, his second of the game.

Dodgers Get on the Board

Meanwhile, Lowe cruised through the first 4 2/3 innings without allowing a hit, striking out nine in the process. He walked Hernández with two out, bringing up left fielder Chris Taylor. On 2-1, he ripped a curveball, sending it into the right-center-field seats for a two-run home run. A walk to right fielder Mookie Betts brought up Seager. After Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder visited the mound, Seager cracked a single to right-center, advancing Betts to second and ending Snell’s night. Nick Anderson took the hill to face third baseman Justin Turner, who struck out to end the threat.

With the score now 5-2, the Rays got one back in the top of the sixth against new pitcher Joe Kelly. Consecutive singles by Choi and Margot put runners on the corners with nobody out for Wendle, whose sacrifice fly plated Choi and gave Wendle his third RBI of the game. Smith made it a 6-3 game in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run.

Seager Makes Postseason History, but Rays Hang On

Neither team scored again until the bottom of the eighth, when Seager led off with a home run and made the score 6-4. It was the seventh homer of this postseason, the most ever by a shortstop. Turner followed with a double. After Muncy flied to right, Smith hit a rocket. It normally would have been an extra-base hit, but fortunately for the Rays and unfortunately for the Dodgers, it went directly to Wendle, who caught it directly in front of his face for the second out. That brought Aaron Loup in from the pen to pitch to center fielder Cody Bellinger, who watched strike three go by him for the third out.

After the Rays stranded two runners in a scoreless top of the ninth against new pitcher Jake McGee, Loup retired substitute DH Edwin Rios and pinch-hitter Austin Barnes to lead off the bottom of the ninth. They struck out looking and lined to left, respectively. Diego Castillo then came into the game and struck out Chris Taylor, with the third strike coming on an appealed check swing.

Anderson earned the win in relief, since Snell did not last the required five innings for a starter to get a win. Gonsolin took the loss, while Castillo earned a save. Game Three will be Friday night in Arlington, with the Rays serving as the designated home team for the next three games.

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