For the first time since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series champions after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 on Tuesday night to take the best-of-seven series 4-2.
Mookie Betts further cemented his status as a Dodgers hero and MLB superstar by going 2-for-4 with a double, the game-winning run, and an eighth-inning solo home run for insurance to cap off a dream debut postseason with his new club.
The Dodgers overturned a 1-0 deficit in the sixth inning by scoring a pair that proved to be the game and series-winning tallies which was fueled by the questionable, analytics-driven managing of Rays boss Kevin Cash.
Tampa starter and ace Blake Snell was masterful in his second outing of the Fall Classic, allowing just a single hit in 5.1 innings of work while striking out nine batters.
All nine of those punchouts came in the first four innings, making him the first pitcher since Sandy Koufax in Game 1 of 1963 World Series against the Yankees to do so.
But Koufax got to finish his game, striking out 15 in a complete-game win. Snell didn’t come close to getting that chance because with one out in the fifth, Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes singled on his 73rd pitch of the evening.
That was all for him as Cash made the flabbergasting move of pulling the ace, going to reliever Nick Anderson — who had struggled throughout the postseason.
The move backfired immediately.
Betts doubled to put runners on second and third before a wild pitch scored Barnes to tie the game while Betts moved to third.
The Dodgers’ star once again made things happen with his legs, using an aggressive jump to score on a fielder’s choice when Corey Seager grounded out to first to plate the go-ahead run.
Cash’s gaffe erased the slim lead that was created when the red-hot Randy Arozarena hit his MLB-record-extending 10th postseason home run in the first inning off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin.
For the second-straight start, Gonsolin didn’t see his way out of the second inning having allowed that run on three hits with four strikeouts, making way for a full bullpen effort for Los Angeles.
Manager Dave Roberts turned to six pitchers after Gonsolin between the second and ninth innings with Julio Urias dominating the final 2.1 innings to close out Game 6. They combined to yield just two hits, keeping the deficit slim for the Dodgers to come back and snag their crown.
Clinging to a one-run lead, Betts added some insurance in the bottom-of-the-eighth with a lead-off solo home run into the left-field seats off Pete Fairbanks, who left a meatball hovering right down Broadway.