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Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Rays come from 7-6 down in the bottom of the ninth.

Brett Phillips celebrates the game-winning hit.
Brett Phillips celebrates the game-winning hit.
Image: Tony Gutierrez

BRETT PHILLIPS’ SINGLE scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers that tied the World Series at two games apiece overnight.

The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.

Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.

Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.

“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the regular season on 25 September.

“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”

Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible”.

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Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.

The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.

“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.

“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”

The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.

© – AFP, 2020

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