MemberOctober 24, 2020 at 9:37 pm
In walk-off fashion, the Tampa Bay Rays win Game Four of the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers on a night that will go down as one of the greatest ever, 8-7.
Slated as the bulk man in a Rays’ bullpen game, Ryan Yarbrough took the mound in a pivotal role. He worked the count full after falling behind, but Mookie Betts popped-out to commence the game. Yarbrough threw three straight balls to Corey Seager before Seager, with the green light, hit a laser right at Brandon Lowe. In a nearly identical spot as last night, with the bases clear and two-away, Justin Turner got a fastball over the middle of the plate. He didn’t miss it, crushing a solo home run to straightaway center field, giving the Dodgers the early edge, 1-0. Yarbrough got Max Muncy to ground-out to finish the first frame. Julio Urías, fresh off of his three-inning save in Game Seven of the NLCS, proved his elite talent and versatility with today’s World Series start. Urías introduced himself with a strike-out of Yandy Díaz. Randy Arozarena smacked a single softly up the middle, but Urías responded with a strike-out of Mike Brosseau. With the help of a great pick and tag by Kiké Hernàndez, Urías and Will Smith paired to cut down Arozarena attempting to steal 2nd. Smith, with a swinging bunt, reached on an infield single to leadoff the second. Cody Bellinger hit a pop-up against the shift, and Yarbrough made a spectacular catch on the run. AJ Pollock, also a swinging bunt, was retired at 1st base after he hit a ball that stopped about three feet in front of home plate. With Smith at 2nd and two-down, Yarbrough got Chris Taylor swinging. In the bottom half, Urías struck-out Manuel Margot before Betts made an incredible leaping grab to rob Lowe of extra bases. Willy Adames hit a harmless fly-ball to center for the third out. Brosseau made a great play to just get Hernàndez at 1st to open the third, and Betts flew-out lazily to center. Yarbrough was a strike away from his first clean frame of the night when Seager turned on an inside curveball and absolutely launched a towering solo shot, doubling LA’s advantage to 2-0. Turner followed with a line-drive base hit up the middle, and Muncy earned a walk. Smith’s weak check-swing comrbacker allowed Yarbrough to escape with no further damage. Hunter Renfroe lined-out to left to open the home half, but Urías issued Mike Zunino a one-out walk. With strike-outs of Kevin Kiermaier and Díaz, Urías worked around the free base. Bellinger grounded-out to begin the fourth before Pollock smacked a double the opposite way. With it, Yarbrough was relieved by Ryan Thompson. Taylor struck-out swinging prior to Hernàndez’s ground-out to leave Pollock stranded. Arozarena attacked the first pitch of Tampa Bay’s half and smashed a solo homer into the gap, getting the Rays on the board, 2-1. Subsequently, Brosseau blooped a base hit into center. Urías froze Margot for the punch-out, and while Brosseau took 2nd on a wild pitch, he struck-out Lowe as well. Urías worked a ground-out of Adames to keep the Dodgers in front. Pete Fairbanks entered for the fifth, and he struck-out Betts on three pitches. Seager jumped on the next pitch and lined a base hit into left, then he took 2nd on a ball in the dirt. Fairbanks got Turner to fly-out, and had Muncy behind in the count with two-strikes. Muncy shortened up and delivered a sharp single into right, scoring Seager to grab the run right back, 3-1. Simultaneously, Muncy pulled into 2nd and collided with Adames, and they fell off the ball to the ground as a duo — enabling Muncy to be called out. With the count full in the bottom frame, Renfroe hammered a solo bomb to the pull Tampa Bay back within one, 3-2. Urías struck-out Zunino and Kiermaier to conclude his day with two-outs in the bottom of the fifth. Urías made two mistakes and paid for both; however, he was very good nonetheless. His final line: 4.2IP, 2ER, 4H, 1BB, 9K. Blake Treinen trotted in from LA’s bullpen, and it took him one pitch to retire Díaz. Diego Castillo entered for the sixth, and Smith led-off the frame with a walk. Bellinger went down swinging, but Castillo issued a four-pitch free pass to Pollock. Taylor roped a line drive that unfortunately went directly to Margot for the second out. With two-strikes, Hernàndez came through with a clutch single down the line, bringing home Smith to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Treinen, back out for more, allowed a leadoff single to Arozarena. Treinen proceeded to walk the pinch-hitting Ji-Man Choi, putting two-on with nobody-out. Austin Meadows, off the bench for Margot, struck-out on three pitches. Pedro Báez came on in relief with two on — a questionable decision. Lowe, a great piece of hitting, pushed a go-ahead three run home run the opposite way to give the Rays ahead, 5-4. Báez worked a ground-out of Adames and struck-out Renfroe to send the game to the seventh. With LA now playing from behind, Aaron Loup was culled upon by Tampa Bay. Seager welcomed Loup with a ground-ball single through the hole, and Turner soon after doubled into the gap. The ball was cut off before the wall, holding the runners at 2nd and 3rd. An uncompetitive at-bat by Muncy resulted in a three-pitch strike-out, and Nick Anderson relieved Loup with one-down. Anderson struck-out Smith on three pitches, then issued an intentional pass to Bellinger. With the bases loaded and two outs, Joc Pederson was called off the bench. Ahead in the count, Pederson pounced on a fastball and roped a line drive into the shift. Lowe dove and nearly had it; except, the ball ricocheted off his glove and into the outfield. A pair scored, although Bellinger was thrown out at 3rd attempting to catch Tampa Bay napping. The Dodgers grabbed the lead right back, 6-5. Báez went back out for the Rays’ half, and he got Zunino swinging for the first out. If you didn’t see it coming already, Kiermaier tied the game at 6 with a solo shot. Báez proceeded to walk Díaz, and as odd as it seems, he remained in. Well, my bad, I guess it was actually the right decision — Báez worked an inning-ending double-play of Arozarena. Anderson went back to work in the eighth, and Taylor crushed a leadoff double off the top of the wall. Attempting to move Taylor to 3rd, Hernàndez bunted straight into the air — an anti-climatic pop-out. Next, Betts grounded-out sharply, and Anderson was a strike-out away from escaping. Seager, fighting one off, blooped a ball that found outfield grass, scoring Taylor to put LA back in front, 7-6. John Curtiss entered, and Turner pulled a single to put them at the corners with still two-away. Curtiss worked a ground-out of Muncy to keep it a one-run game. It’s very rare that we see Adam Kolarek get a clean frame of his own, so when he entered to pitch the home frame of the eighth, it was a unique experience. Immediately causing heart rates around the world to rise through the roof, Kolarek walked Choi on four pitches. Kolarek got Meadows to fly-out shallowly to center prior to a three-pitch strike-out of Lowe. With the righty coming up, Dave Roberts didn’t hesitate to call for Brusdar Graterol. Adames blooped a single in, bringing up Renfroe in a huge spot. Graterol was squeezed, but even behind in the count, he worked a harmless fly-out of Renfroe to escape the jam unscathed. In the ninth, Curtiss got fly-outs of Smith and Bellinger before Pederson rolled a single through the shift. Taylor flew-out to right, prompting the entry of Kenley Jansen with the game on the line. With Yoshi Tsutsugo pinch-hitting, Jansen worked back into the count and got a big struck-out. Kiermaier blooped a broken-bat single just (and I mean just) out of a diving Hernàndez’s reach, bringing the winning run to the plate (…). Wendle poked a ball towards the gap, but Pederson calmly made a running catch. So, with the decision to avoid the intentional walk, it came down to Jansen vs Arozarena. A world class battle resulted in a walk, and Brett Phillips walked up to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs in a 7-6 nail-biter. Jansen just missed with the cutter, but got the call on the succeeding pitch. Jansen pulled ahead one-two with a fastball on the low and outside corner, but Phillips tied the game with a single up the middle. Additionally, Taylor misplayed it, and threw home seemingly in time to get Arozarena. Smith dropped the ball, Arozarena scored, and the Rays won the ballgame.
There are no words to display what just happened. No words. The boys in blue choke away the game, give away a possible commanding series lead, and turn the 2020 Fall Classic into a best-of-three with a flurry of mistakes. There’s not much else to say. Tomorrow, Clayton Kershaw makes the biggest start of his career. Identical to Game One, his opposition will be Tyler Glasnow. The Dodgers must respond with a victory tomorrow. First pitch is 5:08pm. Go Dodgers!
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