Game 4 of the World Series was the wildest of the series, so of course it had to have the wildest ending. After the Dodgers scored all seven of their runs with two outs, the Rays fired back in the ninth with two runs in the ninth on a play that will be talked about for a long time.
Tampa Bay’s 8-7 stunner evens the series at two games apiece.
Staked to a one-run lead in the ninth, Kenley Jansen allowed a broken-bat single to Kevin Kiermaier then walked the red-hot Randy Arozarena with two outs. That brought up Brett Phillips, taking his first at-bat in 17 days.
On a 1-2 pitch, Phillips singled to right center, where Chris Taylor booted the ball. That was more than enough to score the tying run. Arozarena was flying around the bases after the error, but he stumbled on his way home and was dead to rites, only to see Will Smith drop the ball, allowing Arozarena to plate the winning run.
RAYS WIN! RAYS WIN! WHAT JUST HAPPENED!! WOW! pic.twitter.com/2G1vyOFkji— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 25, 2020
“I gave up some soft contact. I totally broke Kiermaier’s bat, and then Phillips got another grenade single,” Jansen said. “You can’t beat yourself up there. We’ve got to stay positive.
“We know we’re good, and we’re going to come and win that game tomorrow.”
“It was like that imperfect storm,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Just unfortunate.”
The back and forth
The 2020 World Series didn’t have a single lead change until the sixth inning of Game 4, but the serve and volley started earlier. The Dodgers didn’t score in the top of the fourth inning, and then seemingly everybody scored.
Tampa Bay and Los Angeles scored in eight consecutive half innings, culminating in Corey Seager blooping a single into left field to score Taylor with a go-ahead run in the top of the eighth.
It was the fourth hit of the game for Seager, who smoked a home run earlier. Justin Turner, who also homered on Saturday, had four hits as well. They joined Jim Gilliam (1959, Game 5) and Maury Wills (1965, Game 5) as the only Dodgers with four hits in a World Series game.
The first lead change came in the sixth, when Brandon Lowe greeted Pedro Báez with a three-run home run. The Dodgers took it back with a two-run single by pinch-hitter Joc Pederson in the seventh, only to see Báez give it back with a solo home run by Kiermiaer in the bottom of the frame.
Roberts said he initially told Báez he was coming out after the sixth, but after the Dodgers took the lead in the top of the seventh inning he changed his mind.
The game tied at this point, Báez walked Yandy Diaz then was somehow allowed to stay in the game to face Arozarena, the hottest hitter all postseason who homered earlier. Báez got him to ground up the middle into a double play to end the threat.
The bleeding stopped in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to Adam Kolarek, in his first game in 10 days getting two of the three left-handers he faced, followed by Brusdar Graterol getting Hunter Renfroe to fly out to end the threat.
But the run spigot was only turned off temporarily.
Julio Urías continued his October to remember, putting the Dodgers in position to win for the fifth time in five tries this postseason.
“The demeanor he has and the temperament, I thought he was made for this type of baseball,” catcher Austin Barnes said Friday of the 24-year-old left-hander.
Urías was up to the challenge yet again for the Dodgers, tying a career high and setting a postseason best with nine strikeouts in 4⅔ innings.
His fastball was his best pitch, inducing 17 of his career-high 20 swinging strikes on the night. The fastball also was hit very hard twice, on home runs by Arozarena and Renfroe, each pulling the Rays to within a run.
Lowest Dodgers single-season postseason ERA
That Urías allowing two runs was his most this postseason tells you just how good the left-hander has been. He allowed four total runs, three earned, with 25 strikeouts and four walks in 20... innings, all while juggling multiple roles. Saturday was his second start this postseason, to go with one bulk relief outing and two more three-inning relief appearances, including closing out the pennant.
“Julio, I don’t think he feels pressure,” Roberts said before Game 3.
For the first time in five games this postseason, Urías didn’t get the win. So he’ll have to settle for the fourth-best ERA (1.31) in a single postseason in franchise history.
Shades of Hrbek
One of those two-out runs came in the fifth inning, when Max Muncy singled home Seager for the Dodgers’ third run. As the throw from right field went to the plate, Muncy tried to take second and beat the throw, but both Muncy and shortstop Willy Adames lost their balance after the tag. Adames grabbed Muncy as he was falling, pulling him off the bag. Muncy was called out by umpire Mark Carlson on a non-reviewable play.
“It’s just a judgment call,” Roberts said.
It was reminiscent of Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek pulling Ron Gant off first base in Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. Judge for yourself:
Home run records
- Turner’s first-inning home run was the 12th of his career in the postseason, passing Duke Snider for sole possession atop the Dodgers franchise leaderboard.
- Seager’s third-inning shot was his eighth home run of October, at the time tied for the most in a single postseason in MLB history. But in the fourth inning, Arozarena homered for a second straight night for the Rays, setting a new record with his ninth homer this postseason.
- With two home runs on Saturday, the Dodgers have hit multiple homers in an MLB record seven consecutive postseason games, dating back to Game 5 of the NLCS.
Game 4 particulars
Home runs: Justin Turner (3), Corey Seager (8); Randy Arozarena (9), Hunter Renfroe (2), Brandon Lowe (4), Kevin Kiermaier (3)
WP — John Curtiss (1-0): 1⅓, IP, 2 hits
LP — Kenley Jansen (0-1): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers and Rays are now in a best-of-3 series, and we get a rematch of Game 1 on Sunday (5:08 p.m. PT, Fox). Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers in Game 5, with Tyler Glasnow starting for Tampa Bay.