A lesson was learned by the Rays in Game 2: If you keep the Dodgers silent for long enough, they are a beatable team. Vengeance was achieved on Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the LA Dodgers 6-4, tying the series up at one.
Tony Gonsolin got the start for the Dodgers and was shaken up a bit early as Brandon Lowe took him deep on the second at-bat of the game, giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. Gonsolin only lasted 1.1 innings, as manager Dave Roberts gave the ball to Dylan Floro. In the second, with Manuel Margot on third base, the Dodgers set up a brilliant shift that caught Margot going for home on contact. This smart tactic kept the lead at one.
The Rays offense would not be kept at bay forever, though, as a two RBI double from Joey Wendle in the fourth inning, followed by another home run off the bat of Lowe in the fifth, gave the Rays a commanding 5-0 lead.
At this point in the game, Blake Snell had put on a stellar performance in the biggest game of his life. The mighty Dodgers offense had been put to sleep, as Snell hadn’t allowed a single hit, let alone a run, through four innings, while striking out nine batters. Unfortunately for Snell, LA had caught on to his rhythm by the fifth, as No. 9 batter Chris Taylor hit a two run shot to right, followed by a Corey Seager single, which gave Kevin Cash enough reason to take him out of the game. His final statline still boasted only two earned runs on two hits.
The next inning, the Rays were fired up, with singles from Ji-Man Choi and Margot, followed by a deep sacrifice fly by Wendle to increase the lead to four runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Will Smith took a low curveball deep to left to make the game 6-3. Still chipping away in the eighth, Seager put one out to center to make it a two run ballgame. That blast by Seager was his seventh of the playoffs, breaking a record for most homers by a shortstop in the postseason.
Following that home run in the eighth was a Justin Turner double with no outs in the inning. With chances to tie the game, or at least come within one right there, the Dodgers saw Max Muncy and Smith fly out and line out, respectively. Cash decided to make a pitching change at that point to put in Aaron Loup, up against the 2019 MVP in Cody Bellinger. It was the right decision, as he got Bellinger looking at a 95 mph fastball right down the middle to end the inning.
That was the last real chance for LA all game, as the Rays’ pitching combo of Loup and Diego Castillo made quick work of the bottom of the order to retire the side and even the series at one apiece. For a series that was supposed to be coming up all Dodgers, the Rays have let everyone know they aren’t going down without a fight. They hope to snag another win in Game 3, where Charlie Morton is set to face off against Walker Buehler.