The Tampa Bay Rays won Saturday night’s Game 4 on one of the wildest finishes in World Series history, capitalizing on a disastrous error by the Los Angeles Dodgers to secure an 8-7 come-from-behind victory and tie the series at 2-2.
With two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, Brett Phillips, a seldom-used outfielder, laced a single to center field off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, bringing in the tying run.
Center fielder Chris Taylor kicked the ball, and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, who started on first, never stopped running. Taylor threw the ball to first baseman Max Muncy, who relayed it to catcher Will Smith. Arozarena had stumbled around third and was going to be out by 30 feet — until Smith dropped the ball and the ricochet allowed Arozarena to dive home and prompt a celebration that ended with the Rays running gleefully into the outfield.
The 116th World Series entered Saturday without a signature game on its ledger. Safe to say after Game 4, that’s no longer the case.
“Once I saw Randy slip, I was like, ‘Aw, shoot, at least we tied it up,’ and then [Smith] missed the ball,” said Phillips, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the eighth. “I don’t know what happened, but then he scored. The next thing I know, I’m airplane-ing around the outfield and I get dogpiled and here I am.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash tried to describe his emotions as he watched the final play at the plate unravel.
“The moment the ball left Phillips’ bat, we knew we had a tie ballgame, and then everything that happened afterward, Randy’s not used to having to run like that,” Cash said. “Normally he’s used to just trotting. So it threw him off for a little bit getting tripped up there between third and home. But Phillips, man, give that guy a lot of credit. I don’t know when the last time he got an at-bat was. Pretty impressive what he just did against one of the game’s best closers.nfl cheap nike jerseys
“Happened so fast, I didn’t know what to do. Gave a bunch of hugs, just in disbelief.”
The emotional pendulum swung wildly in Game 4, with the Dodgers overcoming a pair of blown leads by the same relief pitcher to put themselves in a position for Clayton Kershaw, the fulcrum of the team that has won eight consecutive division titles but lost in its two previous World Series tries, to secure a title in his Game 5 start Sunday.cheap new nike nfl jerseys
The Rays ended that dream in classic fashion — on a wild sequence that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described as “an unperfect storm.”
“I’m about to live 15 years shorter,” the Rays’ Brandon Lowe said. “I think that kind of sums it up. My God, I think I lost 10 years on that last play. God, that’s a storybook baseball game if I’ve ever been a part of one. That was insane.”
On the final play, only Taylor was charged with an error. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said there was no way for Smith to have known Arozarena fell.
“He was trying to catch the ball and put a quick tag down. If he’d have known he fell, he probably would have taken his time and made sure he caught it,” Turner said. “Not sure what happened in center. That’s uncharacteristic for us.”
It had looked grim for the Rays, with blown leads galore all game, thanks to the teams going blow for blow and scoring in eight consecutive half-innings, a World Series record.
With the score tied at 6-6 going into the eighth, Taylor led off with a double off Rays reliever Nick Anderson. A failed sacrifice and groundout later, Anderson needed only to retire Corey Seager to escape the inning. Anderson was not the first pitcher to try and fail on this night or this postseason. Seager looped a single into center field, scoring Taylor and pushing the Dodgers ahead 7-6.
It was the Dodgers’ seventh run of the night scored with two outs and their 17th of the series.
Los Angeles’ bullpen, so permeable in the prior innings, attempted to go into lockdown mode over the final two. After Adam Kolarek secured the first two outs in the eighth, rookie Brusdar Graterol punctuated the third out with his signature celebration.
In the ninth, Jansen tried to work around a single to Kevin Kiermaier and walk to Arozarena. With two outs, on a 1-2 count against Phillips, who hit .196 in the regular season and was 0-for-2 in the playoffs this year, Jansen left a cutter over the plate that Phillips rapped into center.