ARLINGTON, Texas. – The best team in a truncated regular season also was the top team in an extended playoffs, as the Los Angeles Dodgers ended a 32-year championship drought with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday at Arlington, Texas.
The Dodgers also were the best homer-hitting team in a regular season that was shortened to 60 games as a concession to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they got inventive on offense to earn their deciding victory.
In their 16th consecutive game at the Texas Rangers’ new Globe Life Field, the Dodgers turned a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice into run-scoring gold in the fifth inning as they grabbed a 2-1 lead. Los Angeles also used seven pitchers, including starter Tony Gonsolin, who was pulled after 1 2/3 innings.
“We’ve been through a lot, man and it’s such an unbelievable feeling celebrating with these guys,” said Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP who had a rocky 2020 season. “It’s been unbelievable.”
Left-hander Julio Urias was the last of the seven Dodgers arms, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save. He struck out Willy Adames looking to end it. Lefty Victor Gonzalez (1-0) fanned three in 1 1/3 shutout innings to earn the victory.
“It’s funny, (Urias) had two days’ rest and people are saying, ‘Hey what do you think? How much more does he get?’” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on MLB Network. “I said, ‘This is his game. He’s finishing this up.’ I’m just proud of him.”
Rays starter Blake Snell was in the midst of the most impressive start of his career, when factoring in the moment. He struck out nine and gave up just two harmless singles the first two times through the Dodgers order.
However, with one out in the sixth inning, following a single by Dodgers No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes, Rays manager Kevin Cash went to his bullpen to protect a 1-0 lead, putting right-hander Nick Anderson (1-1) into the game. After striking out twice against Snell, Mookie Betts hit a double to put runners on second and third.
Barnes scored on an Anderson wild pitch to tie the game, with Betts moving to third. Corey Seager, who also fanned twice against Snell, then hit a ground ball to first with Betts scoring on a dive just ahead of the throw home for a 2-1 advantage.
“I’m not exactly sure why, I’m not asking any questions, but he was pitching a great game,” Betts said of the Rays’ decision to lift Snell. “We had a chance to do something, but they made a pitching change, and it seemed like that’s all we needed.”