Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle each recorded three RBI to wake up a Tampa Bay Rays team that took Game 2 of the World Series 6-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, tying the Fall Classic at one game apiece.
It was just the second time in their last 11 postseason games dating back to Game 4 of the ALDS that the Rays scored five runs or more.
One of Tampa’s biggest bats over the last two years in Lowe’s rewarded manager Kevin Cash’s faith in him by breaking out of a horrendous slump in which he was batting .107 over 15 postseason games by smacking a pair of home runs to pace the Rays’ sputtering offense.
Lowe is just the sixth-different second baseman to hit two or more home runs in a single World Series game.
He opened the scoring with a solo home run with one out in the first inning off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin, who would only last 1.1 innings despite the round-tripper being his only blemish allowed.
Gonsolin became the first pitcher since Harry Taylor of the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series to be removed from a Fall Classic start for non-injury purposes after allowing just one run or fewer in less than two innings of work.
Wendle tacked on another pair for the Rays in the fourth inning with a two-run double off reliever Dustin May before Lowe went the other way for his second homer of the night — a two-run shot — to make it 5-0 in the fifth.
Tampa starter Blake Snell was cruising with his comfortable lead, going 4.2 innings without allowing a single hit while striking out nine. But a two-out walk in the fifth to Enrique Hernandez extended the inning, only for his no-hit dreams to come crashing down when Chris Taylor delivered a two-run home run to get the Dodgers on the board.
Snell would not get out of the fifth as Cash quickly turned to his bullpen to get the final 13 outs.
Wendle picked up his third RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the restored four-run lead was only temporary, as Dodgers catcher Will Smith quickly answered with a solo shot in the bottom of the frame.
Tampa’s usually-reliable bullpen showed signs of bending in the later innings, though.
In the eighth inning, Corey Seager knocked his seventh home run of the postseason — the most by a shortstop ever in a postseason — to make it a 6-4 game off Pete Fairbanks.
Justin Turner followed it up with a double to get the tying run to the plate, but Fairbanks got Max Muncy to fly out and Smith to lineout before Aaron Loup got Cody Bellinger to strikeout looking.