ARLINGTON, Texas — Somehow, someway, the Tampa Bay Rays survived an all-time-classic World Series game with a dramatic — yet sloppy — finish to a wild, 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at Globe Life Field.
Randy Arozarena was dead to rights trying to score the winning run from first base in the bottom of the ninth inning on a hit by Brett Phillips off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen that tied the game with two outs 7-7. Arozarena fell down on his way home from third, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith couldn’t corral the relay and Arozarena was able to touch home to end the game and even the series 2-2.
The Dodgers looked like they had the game in the bag after taking the lead in the eighth inning, but Jansen gave up two hits and a walk, including the hit by Phillips, who was 0-for-5 in the postseason before the single to right on a 1-2 pitch. The Rays showed more fight at the plate, and a player who had just 20 at-bats for them in the regular season came through as the hero. And now the series is down to the best of three.
“The moment the ball left Phillips’ bat, we knew we had a tie ball game and then everything that happened afterwards, Randy’s not used to having to run like that. Normally he’s used to just trotting. So it threw him off for a little bit getting tripped up there between third and home,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “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.”
Afterwards, Jansen was diplomatic about the blown save, noting soft contact is what gave the Rays their victory. “Giving up to soft contact, you can’t beat yourself up on that,” he said. “I totally broke [Kevin] Kiermaier’s bat and Phillips, another grenade single. You can’t beat yourself there. You got to stay positive. One thing is we stay positive and we got to be back tomorrow.”
Through a translator, Arozarena explained what happened in his remarkable romp around the bases to score and earn the walk-off win. “All I was thinking about was just running hard. Running hard as I could,” he said. “Once I got to a certain spot, I saw that the ball got bobbled. I got sent home. I tripped but all I was thinking was to hopefully, tie the game and hopefully lead the game. Once the ball got past him, I was able to turn around and score.”