Arlington, Texas –The Dodgers knows that this series will be tough one and it probably will go down to the wire.
Los Angeles catcher Will Smith dropped the ball at that plate that allowed Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena to sprint home, pound home plate with his right hand and inhaled the 8-7 win. With the victory the Rays ties the series at two apiece in front of a crowd of 11,411 at Globe Life Field.
This game, which had been 1-0, then 2-0, then 2-1, then 3-1, then 3-2, then 4-2, then 5-4, then 6-5, then 6-6, then 7-6 and finally 8-7, which Lowe said aged him 10 years on the final play alone and Roberts called “the unperfect storm,” which had the Rays dancing and running all over the field in jubilation. One more strike and the series would have been different. A little bit more movement on Jansen’s cutter. One more foot of defensive positioning on Kiermaier’s single. beauties. LA had scored six runs with two outs. Tampa Bay scored two runs with two outs that when it counted the most.
“Baseball,” Kiermaier said, “works in mysterious ways.”
Reserve outfielder Brett Phillips notched a game-tying single in the ninth off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, and Randy Arozarena was also able to score on an error by center fielder Chris Taylor and then a mishandled throw by L.A. catcher Will Smith, who was later charged with an error.
The game unfolded in seconds. Kiermaier scoring the tying run. Taylor’s error. Arozarena never broke stride until he stumbled. Linares screaming at him in Spanish to go back to third. Smith not realizing Arozarena had fallen and trying to sweep the relay throw from Max Muncy .The ball squirting away. Jansen had a mental lapse because wasn’t there to back up the play. Arozarena plowed forward, dive home, pounding his right hand on the plate nine times.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena has been the catalyst for the Rays in these playoffs, and the World Series has been no exception. In Game 4 he homered for the ninth time this postseason, and that put him back in front of Seager for the record for most home runs in a single postseason. He also added to the record he set in Game 3 for most hits in a single postseason by a rookie.
The emerging book on Arozarena is that you need to be very careful throwing him fastballs. So it’s curious that Julio Urias opted to throw him a first-pitch fastball, particularly when he has a good changeup and breaking ball.
In all, Arozarena in Game 4 tallied three hits and worked a critical seven-pitch walk off Jansen in the ninth. He would of course come around the score the winning run.
Phillips rounded second and ran toward forever. He had seen Kiermaier spread his arms and run like an airplane and thought it looked fun, so he tried it. The Rays met him in left field and moshed around him. Phillips couldn’t breathe. He extracted himself from the pile and knelt and thanked God.
At one point in the sixth inning, the Dodgers had almost an 80 percent chance of winning the game, but that was soon flipped to a better than 70 percent chance for the Rays to win. The Dodgers clawed back in the eighth, however, to regain the lead. Then, of course, the madness above happened, and the Rays maintained focus and kept swinging.
Phillips, who notched the final hit of the game, had batted just twice the postseason, all in the ALDS. That’s two at-bats in 29 days and none since Oct. 7. He’s a career .202 hitter, but he made the most out of his opportunity.