Dodgers move to within one win of title
This whole World Series has been a back-and-forth affair, with neither team being able to win two in a row over the first four games. That led to a 2-2 tie heading into Sunday’s Game Five, a pivotal contest in this series. The Rays turned to Tyler Glasnow to start this one for them, but the righty just didn’t have his command early on. The Dodgers jumped on him right away, with Mookie Betts leading off the game with a double and then immediately coming in to score on a Corey Seager single. Seager would then show off his legs, getting to second base on a wild pitch and then advancing to third in the same fashion. Neither wild pitch got all that far from the catcher, either, so it was good speed and instincts by the runner that allowed him to advance. He would then come home on a two-out single, and the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead in the first. They made it 3-0 in the second, too, when Joc Pederson led that frame off with a solo homer.
Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw got the call on the other side, and he got off to a good start in this one. The Rays failed to score in either of the first two innings. Things took a turn in the third, though, partially because of some rare bad defense from Mookie Betts. Kevin Kiermaier started the inning off with a base hit, and then a couple batters later Yandy Díaz sent one into the right field corner. Betts took a poor angle on the ball to try and cut it off before it reached the wall. Him failing to get to the ball in time gave Díaz enough time to get to third with an RBI triple. Díaz then came home on a Randy Arozarena base hit, and just like that the Rays were within one.
Arguably the biggest play of the game, and almost certainly the one we’ll most remember, came in the bottom of the fourth. Former Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot started the inning off with a walk before stealing second and heading over to third after the ball got away from Chris Taylor at the second base bag. The play at third was close, but ultimately upheld upon replay. Kershaw walked the second batter of the inning as well, putting runners on the corners with no outs and giving Tampa a massive chance to at least tie the game. Instead, Kershaw got a pop out and a strikeout, and was one out away from escaping the inning. With two outs, Margot tried to catch Kershaw and the Dodgers sleeping, attempting to steal home. It was close, but Austin Barnes got the tag applied in time, and Margot’s failed steal of home was the end of the inning with the Rays failing to get even a single run from that chance.
That appeared to suck all of the momentum from a potential comeback for the Rays. Los Angeles added another run in the fifth on a Max Muncy homer, and then their pitching got the job done the rest of the way. Tampa’s only other real chance in this game was in the eighth when they got two on with one out, but Victor González came through and got two huge outs to end the inning, and effectively the game.
The Dodgers ended up getting the 4-2 victory, and with it they lead the series 3-2, one win away from their first championship since 1988. The teams are off on Monday, with Game Six coming on Tuesday night.