Dodgers win 1st WS since ’88
Rays manager Kevin Cash raised his right arm, signaling for the bullpen. Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell bit his lip and shook his head. And the Dodgers smelled blood.
The Dodgers are World Series champions for the first time since 1988 because they seized their moment when Snell’s dominant Game 6 outing was controversially cut short Tuesday night at Globe Life Field. With a sudden offensive awakening against Rays reliever Nick Anderson in the sixth inning, the Dodgers won, 3-1, to claim their long-awaited crown and complete their domination of the shortest, strangest season in Major League Baseball history.
|Gm 1||Oct. 20||LAD 8, TB 3||Watch|
|Gm 2||Oct. 21||TB 6, LAD 4||Watch|
|Gm 3||Oct. 23||LAD 6, TB 2||Watch|
|Gm 4||Oct. 24||TB 8, LAD 7||Watch|
|Gm 5||Oct. 25||LAD 4, TB 2||Watch|
|Gm 6||Oct. 27||LAD 3, TB 1||Watch|
This was the ending the Dodgers expected when they pushed in their chips and placed Mookie Betts in an already loaded lineup. The ending that had evaded them in their World Series appearances in 2017 and ’18. When the coronavirus pandemic dramatically reshaped the length and look of the MLB season, the Dodgers mercilessly ran through their shuffled schedule with a .717 winning percentage (43-17).
When a new-look postseason format asked more of the division winners, the Dodgers ran roughshod over the Brewers in the National League Wild Card Series and the division-rival Padres in the NL Division Series and overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Braves in the NL Championship Series.
And when the Rays threatened to push this neutral-site World Series to a Game 7 behind an early Randy Arozarena homer (the rookie’s record 10th of a powerful postseason) and Snell’s fantastic first two turns through the order, the Dodgers pounded down the door the minute it was cracked ajar.
That moment arrived in the sixth inning. With one out, Snell allowed a line-drive single to Austin Barnes — just the third ball he had let out of the infield in 5 1/3 innings of wowing work in which all of his pitches were on point. Snell had thrown just 73 pitches.
But Cash showed fierce devotion to his pitching plan and went to his ‘pen as the lineup turned over for a third turn. Immediately, the move to Nick Anderson, who had allowed runs in six straight postseason appearances, backfired. Betts grounded a double down the left-field line to put runners at second and third. Then Anderson uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Barnes to score the tying run and advanced Betts to third. And when Corey Seager scooted a groundball to first, Betts took off on contact and slid in safely at the plate, ahead of Ji-Man Choi’s throw, to give the Dodgers the go-ahead.
Though the Dodgers’ own pitchin
g plan had some early difficulty in the form of Arozarena’s first-inning homer of Tony Gonsolin, who was pulled after only five outs, the trail of relievers trotted out by manager Dave Roberts held the Rays scoreless for the remainder. Alex Wood’s two perfect innings allowed Roberts to align his most trusted options late. Betts’ monster solo shot in the eighth was an emphatic exclamation mark on his first season in Dodger blue, and Julio Urías’ 2 1/3 perfect innings finished off the seventh World Series title in franchise history.