24 hours after dropping the first game of the 2020 World Series, the Rays are presented with a perfect opportunity to even the series up with Blake Snell on the mound. The Dodgers will be running a bullpen day, so Tony Gonsolin opens for LA.
Ji-Man Choi makes history tonight, becoming the first Korean-born position player to play in the World Series.
Austin Meadows started the top of the first with a productive at-bat despite going down 0-2, laying off of a good low changeup and working a six-pitch plate appearance to start the game off before popping out. Brandon Lowe was next up, looking to snap out of his Postseason struggles.
Snap out of it, he did, as he drove a 95 mph fastball to left-center field and put the Rays on the board, 1-0. Lowe’s home run left his bat at 106 mph, going 375 feet.
Blake Snell looked really good in his first inning of work, striking out Mookie Betts and Justin Turner in a 10-pitch 1-2-3 inning.
Manuel Margot worked a leadoff walk in the top of the second, although he reached on what should’ve been called strike three. Either way, Margot’s on and he advances to third on a sacrifice fly by Joey Wendle. With Willy Adames due up, Gonsolin comes out of the game for Dylan Floro.
Adames hit a grounder to Corey Seager, who was playing in, and Margot was thrown out at home by a mile. Adames reached first, but running on contact didn’t pay off for the Rays. Adames tried stealing second with Kiermaier up but was thrown out by Will Smith to end the inning.
Snell walked both Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, but between the walks he struck out Will Smith for the first out in the inning.
Snell got Pollock to pop out and struck out Enrique Hernandez to get out of the inning and strand the runners.
Floro was pulled in the top of the third after getting Kiermaier and Zunino out, with Dave Roberts opting to bring in Victor Gonzalez against the top of the Rays order. Meadows swings at the first pitch and ends the inning with a flyout.
Snell pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Chris Taylor and Corey Seager in the process.
Randy drew a one-out walk in the top of the fourth, but was out at second when Choi grounded into a fielder’s choice. With two outs in the inning, Dave Roberts brought in right-handed red-haired Dustin May to face Margot. Margot singled to right, putting two on for Joey Wendle.
Wendle brought home both of those runners with a double to right-center field, hitting a 93 mph cutter to extend the lead to 3-0. Willy grounded out to end the inning.
Snell’s strong outing continued into the fourth, striking out Muncy and Smith to record his seventh and eighth K’s and end the inning.
Kiermaier struck out to start the bottom of the fifth and Mike Zunino grounded out behind him (with a 107 mph exit velo). Meadows singled with an exit velo of 108 mph, bringing up Brandon Lowe.
Lowe hit a curveball from May to the opposite field and into the crowd, a two-run home run for the Rays to extend the lead to 5-0. May got out of the inning with a groundout from Arozarena that was hit 107 off the bat, so May struggled with allowing hard contact all inning long.
Snell walked Hernandez with two outs in the fifth and allowed a two-run home run to Chris Taylor to shrink the lead down to 5-2. Snell walked Betts after the home run, prompting a mound visit. Seager hit a line drive single off of Snell and that marked the end of Snell’s day.
Snell allowed two runs over 4.2 innings of work, walking four and striking one nine after 88 pitches thrown. Nick Anderson comes in to try and get the final out of the inning. Anderson struck out Justin Turner with a perfect fastball to end the inning.
Joe Kelly entered the game for LA in the top of the sixth, and Ji-Man welcomed him with a single after a lengthy at-bat. Margot singled to left and it moved Choi up to third, bringing Joey Wendle up. Wendle hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Choi and make it a 6-2 ballgame. Margot moved up to second on a bad throw to first by Kelly, but was stranded there after both Adames and Kiermaier struck out.
Anderson stayed in to pitch the bottom of the sixth and allowed a one-out solo home run to Will Smith. Anderson got the next two batters out to end the inning, keeping it a 6-3 ballgame.
Yandy pinch-hit for Meadows and hit a one-out single in the top of the seventh, facing new pitcher Alex Wood. Randy was intentionally walked with two outs, so Mike Brosseau comes up, pinch-hitting for Choi. Brosseau struck out to end the inning.
Fairbanks got the ball in the bottom of the seventh, facing pinch-hitter Joc Pederson. Pederson swung at the first pitch and flew out for the first out in the inning. Fairbanks struck out Taylor for out number two, then got Betts to pop out on the sixth pitch of the inning to end the seventh.
Willy hit a two-out double in the top of the eighth, but was stranded after Kiermaier grounded out.
Fairbanks stayed in to pitch the top of the eighth and allowed a leadoff home run to Corey Seager on a slider right down the middle. Turner doubled on a ball that landed between Kiermaier and Margot, putting the Rays in some serious trouble with no outs in the inning.
Max Muncy flew out for out number one, and Turner wasn’t able to advance to third. Will Smith lined out to third for the second out, and with Bellinger due up next, Fairbanks was pulled for Aaron Loup. Loup struck Bellinger out looking with a fastball down the middle to end the inning, just like we all predicted.
Jake McGee sighting! The former Rays pitcher entered the game in the top of the ninth. With a runner on and two outs in the inning, Randy Arozarena hit an infield single to tie Derek Jeter with the most hits by a rookie in the Postseason.
Arozarena was pinch-run for by Brett Phillips, who will take over in left field. Hunter Renfroe pinch-ran for Yandy, taking over at DH. Mike Brosseau grounded out to end the inning.
Aaron Loup stays in the game to face the left-handed Edwin Rios in the bottom of the ninth. Loup struck Rios out looking, and will stay in to face pinch-hitter Austin Barnes. Barnes flew out for out number two, bringing Kevin Cash to emerge from the dugout to bring in tonight’s closer, Diego Castillo.
Castillo struck out Chris Taylor on three pitches to get the save and even the World Series at one game apiece.
The Rays looked really good in this one, and will head into tomorrow’s off-day with a great win in the bag.
Game three of the World Series will be Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 pm. Charlie Morton will start for the Rays against Dodgers righty Walker Buehler.