Despite being one out away from complete control of the World Series, things fell apart at the seams for the Dodgers at the end of Game 4, as the Rays scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to secure an 8-7 victory, evening the series at two games apiece.
With Los Angeles leading 7-6, Kenley Jansen struck out Yoshi Tsutsugo to start the ninth, but Kevin Kiermaier landed on first after a broken-bat single to center. Joey Wendle subsequently lined out to left, then Randy Arozarena walked, putting runners on first and second with two out.
Brett Phillips, the last guy on the bench for Tampa Bay, followed with a loop single to center that easily scored Kiermaier after Chris Taylor bobbled the ball. Arozarena appeared to be nailed at home trying to score the game-winning run, but catcher Will Smith lost the handle on Max Muncy‘s relay, allowing Arozarena to safely cross the plate.
Needless to say, the Dodgers were stunned.
Thanks to a 420-foot solo shot off the bat of Justin Turner in the top of the first inning, Game 4 got off to an almost identical start as Game 3. With his home run, Turner became the first player in World Series history to homer in the first inning of consecutive games within a series.
In the third frame, Corey Seager landed his second homer of the series, extending the Los Angeles lead to two. After Turner singled and Muncy walked, it appeared the Dodgers would be in a spot to add more, but a Smith groundout ended any further threat.
Arozarena homered to right-center field in the bottom of the fourth inning, bringing the Rays to within one. It was Arozarena’s second home run of the series and his ninth of the postseason, establishing a major league record.
The Dodgers struck back in the fifth when Seager scored on a Muncy single to right, despite Muncy being thrown out at second after the throw home. With the run, the Dodgers led 3-1 in a game that up until that point, mostly featured solid pitching from both teams. However, the bats would heat up on both sides in the later innings, providing fans with an ending loaded with plenty of offensive excitement.
After Tampa Bay cut the lead back to one in the fifth on a mammoth Hunter Renfroe home run, the Dodgers struck right back in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez drove home Smith on a double to left field. At that moment, all the see-sawing on the scoreboard seemingly began.
The Rays took the lead for the first time in the sixth when Brandon Lowe tagged Pedro Baez for a three-run shot to center. Baez had replaced Blake Treinen after Treinen allowed both Arozarena and Ji-Man Choi to reach base in consecutive ABs.
In the ensuing frame, a Joc Pederson pinch-hit single off the glove of Lowe—you guessed it, with two outs—plated both Seager and Turner. Cody Bellinger was tug out in a rundown between second and third on the play, but once the dust settled, the Dodgers were back on top with a 6-5 lead.
Not to be outdone, Kiermaier, facing Baez, homered to right-center field in the bottom of the seventh, re-tying the game at six runs apiece.
In the eighth inning, falling directly into the Los Angeles “scoring runs with two out” theme, Seager drove home Taylor, who led off the inning with a double. Taylor’s run was the Dodgers’ 57th run scored with two men out this postseason. At the seventh inning stretch, Los Angeles was on top, 7-6.
The Rays threatened in the bottom of the eighth with runners on first and second, but Adam Kolarek and Brusdar Graterol combined to hold the Rays at bay. However, it was the ninth inning when the Phillips single would rewrite yet another part of World Series history.
John Curtiss was credited with the victory. Jansen registered the loss.
Lefty starter Julio Urias went 4-2/3 frames for Los Angeles, surrendering two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out nine.
First pitch is slated for 8:08 p.m. Eastern time.