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Dodgers comeback falls short after Rays disrupt pitching plans in Game 2

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Three homers by LA not quite enough

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Rays offense came alive against the soft underbelly of the Dodgers pitching staff, and an LA comeback fell short in a 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park.

The best-of-7 series is tied at one game apiece.

All the discussion of when to deploy Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May took a back seat to the fact that neither were particularly effective on two days rest in Game 2.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe was the Rays’ best hitter during the regular season, hitting .269/.362/.554 with 14 home runs, his 150 wRC+ ranking 19th in the majors. But he was struggling in the postseason, just 6-for-56 (.107) entering Wednesday night before launching an opposite field home run off Tony Gonsolin in the first inning.

May hit hard

Batter Exit mph xBA Result
Batter Exit mph xBA Result
Margot 109.5 0.180 Single
Wendle 99.8 0.420 Double
Adames 92.0 0.160 Groundout
Zunino 107.0 0.460 Groundout
Meadows 108.4 0.690 Single
Lowe 104.0 0.900 Home run
Arozarena 107.5 0.440 Groundout
Exit velocities against Dustin May in Game 2 Source: Baseball Savant

Lowe struck again against Dustin May in the fifth, this time with a two-run shot that gave the Rays a 5-0 lead. May also allowed a two-run double earlier to Joey Wendle, another Tampa Bay hitter who was productive during the regular season (.286/.342/.435, 116 wRC+) but not so in the postseason (.227/.292/.250 entering Wednesday).

Wendle’s hit had a 99.8-mph exit velocity, and May allowed five other batted balls with an exit velocity of at least 104 mph. May only faced eight batters, and recorded four outs, allowing three runs.

Gonsolin also recorded four outs, allowing one run.

The Dodgers used seven pitchers to get 27 outs on Wednesday, but perhaps most importantly, they didn’t use Julio Urías, who like May and Gonsolin was on two days rest. Dave Roberts said Urías would start Game 4 start on Saturday, on five days rest, lining up the Dodgers’ three best pitchers for the next three games.

The comeback try

Blake Snell was great, striking out nine, keeping the Dodgers off balance for most of his night. Snell didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth inning, when Chris Taylor took him deep for a two-run homer, cutting the Dodgers deficit to three runs.

Corey Seager singled two outs later, ending Snell’s night after 4⅔ innings.

Will Smith took reliever Nick Anderson deep in the sixth, then Seager hit a solo shot off Pete Fairbanks in the eighth. That pulled the Dodgers to within two runs, and gave Seager a record for home runs (seven) by a shortstop in a single postseason.

Seager hit one home run on Aug. 30 against the Rangers, then five more in the NLCS before this World Series home run, giving him another, more obscure mark:

Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor hit six home runs at Globe Life Field during the season.

Justin Turner followed Seager’s home run with a double, putting a runner in scoring position with nobody out and bringing the tying run to the plate, but Fairbanks and Aaron Loup worked out of the jam.

Game 2 particulars

Home runs: Chris Taylor (1), Will Smith (2), Corey Seager (7); Brandon Lowe 2 (3)

WP — Nick Anderson (1-1): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 strikeouts

LP — Tony Gonsolin (0-2): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Sv — Diego Castillo (3): ⅓ IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers have their first in-series off day of the postseason, before resuming things on Friday for Game 3 (5:08 p.m. PT, Fox). We have a more traditional pitching matchup in this one, with ace Walker Buehler on the mound for the Dodgers, with Charlie Morton starting for the home team.