ARLINGTON, Texas - For nearly a decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been among baseball's best. For the first time in 32 years, that's their official title.
The Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Tuesday to win the 2020 MLB World Series in six games. It's the franchise's first world title since 1988 - despite eight consecutive National League West division titles between 2013 and 2020. In all, it's the Dodgers' seventh World Series championship.
After Tampa starting pitcher Blake Snell joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to pile up nine strikeouts through the first four innings of a World Series game, Snell was pulled by manager Kevin Cash in the sixth inning with a 1-0 lead.
Cash came out to get Snell after No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes singled with one out for the Dodgers’ second hit. Snell had thrown just 73 pitches, and the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner looked as if he disagreed with the quick hook. Virginia Beach's Chris Taylor recorded one of the only two hits off Snell.
Following the pitching change, Mookie Betts then greeted Nick Anderson with a double, and Barnes scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Betts scored on Corey Seager’s grounder to first baseman Ji-Man Choi, easily beating the throw home.
The pitching change likely will be questioned for years to come.
The Dodgers had played 5,014 regular season games and were in their 114th postseason game since Orel Hershiser struck out Oakland’s Tony Phillips for the final out of the World Series in 1988, the same year veteran lefty Clayton Kershaw — the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner who won Games 1 and 5 of this Series — was born in nearby Dallas.
Kershaw was warming in the bullpen when Julio Urias struck out Willy Adames to end it and ran alongside teammates to celebrate in the infield — many players and coaches still wearing face masks at the end of a season played out amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles had come up short in the World Series twice in the previous three years. And Betts was on the other side two years ago with the Boston Red Sox, who before this season traded the 2018 AL MVP to the Dodgers. They later gave him a $365 million, 12-year extension that goes until he turns 40 in 2032.
Betts’ 3.2-second sprint was just enough to beat the throw by first baseman Ji-Man Choi, pushing Los Angeles ahead 2-1 moments after Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled ace left-hander Blake Snell despite a dominant performance over 5 1/3 innings.
Randy Arozarena, the powerful Tampa Bay rookie, extended his postseason record with his 10th homer in the first off rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin, the first of seven Dodgers pitchers. The Rays never got another runner past second base as LA’s bullpen gave reliever-reliant Tampa Bay a taste of its own medicine.
About 2 1/2 weeks after the Lakers won the NBA title while finishing their season in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, the Dodgers gave Los Angeles another championship in this year when the novel coronavirus pandemic has delayed, shortened and moved around sports seasons.
Immediately after the game, MLB announced Dodgers star Justin Turner was removed the game and absent from the on-field celebration due to a positive COVID-19 test.