ARLINGTON, Texas. — Equal parts revenge and redemption helped the Tampa Bay Rays even the World Series on Wednesday as left-hander Blake Snell took charge from the mound and Brandon Lowe experienced a revival.
Snell kept baseball’s best offense off balance and Lowe hit two home runs to distance himself from recent struggles as the Rays earned a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 at Arlington, Texas.
Snell did not give up a hit until the fifth when the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor hit a home run.
Despite a rapidly rising pitch count, the left-hander, in his first career World Series start, befuddled a Los Angeles offense that scored eight runs in a Game 1 victory Tuesday and hit a major-league-leading 118 home runs during the regular season. Snell allowed two runs on two hits over 4 2/3 innings with four walks and nine strikeouts while throwing 88 pitches.
“In the bullpen (warming up), I felt terrible, honestly,” Snell said on MLB Network. “I go out there and I was like, ‘OK, we’ll see what I got.’ But once I got to the mound, everything just kind of locked in.”
Lowe got the Rays’ offense started with a solo home run in the first inning off rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin, then hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning off another Dodgers rookie, right-hander Dustin May.
Gonsolin was used at the outset but it was essentially a bullpen game because the team did not have a fully rested starter. Los Angeles used three starters Sunday in its Game 7 victory in the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Gonsolin (0-1) gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings, becoming the first starting pitcher to record four or fewer outs in a World Series start since the San Francisco Giants’ Jake Peavy in Game 6 of the 2014 Series.
The Dodgers used seven pitchers in the defeat.
After an off day, Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Friday (Saturday in Manila).
“They’re the best team in the American League and they pitch well and they defend well,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of the Rays. “They give you tough at-bats, and for us to beat them, we have to play tough baseball. Right now, we’re tied in the series and ready to go for Game 3.”
The Rays never trailed while earning just their second World Series win in franchise history.
The other came in Game 2 in 2008 against the Philadelphia Phillies, who captured the series in five games.
Tampa Bay increased the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when Joey Wendle hit a two-run double off May.
Lowe’s two-run shot in the fifth off May pushed the gap to 5-0. Lowe, who led the Rays in the regular season with 14 home runs, had a hit in each of Tampa Bay’s first two games of the postseason but was batting .083 (4-for-48) with one home run in 13 games since.