We have an even series at 1-1 with Charlie Morton on the mound. Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers in what should be a pitching duel tonight.
8:08 pm: First pitch. Go Rays!
Top 1st: Well Ji-Man Choi splits have started out early today! Adames made a nice play on a grounder and bounced a ball to first that Choi caught mid-split for the first out of the game. Corey Seager flew out to left for out number two.
Justin Turner launched a solo home run to left to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead thanks to a fastball down the middle. Max Muncy singled off of Morton’s foot but Morton struck out the DH Will Smith to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Well, that wasn’t a pretty inning. Austin Meadows grounded out on the third pitch of the game, Brandon Lowe struck out looking and Randy struck out on three pitches.
Top 2nd: Bellinger’s up and he’s already out, swinging at the first pitch and flying out. Chris Taylor comes up and Chris Taylor sits down with a swinging strikeout, while Joc Pederson grounded out to end the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Ji-Man Choi is leading off for the Rays. Choi struck out looking. Manuel Margot struck out swinging. Joey Wendle flew out on Buehler’s 22nd pitch in the game to end the inning. Definitely not a good showing so far for the offense, but Buehler looks really good.
Top 3rd: The good news is, so does Morton. He strikes out Austin Barnes to get the third going on a good note. He then strikes out Mookie Betts for out number two.
Morton then spiked a cutter and hit Seager, putting one on for Justin Turner. Turner doubled, moving Seager up to third. Max Muncy comes up now. With a full count, Muncy singled up the middle to score two for LA. Will Smith flew out to thankfully end the inning.
Bottom 3rd: Willy’s leading off against Buehler, but he grounded out for out number one. Kiermaier drew a walk to put the first runner on for the Rays in the game. Mike Zunino hit into an inning-ending double play.
Top 4th: Bellinger singled to begin the fourth, but Morton struck out Chris Taylor for the first out. Joc Pederson singled to move Bellinger up to third, and Bellinger scored on a sacrifice bunt from Austin Barnes.
Mookie Betts avoided a strikeout when home plate umpire Bill Miller decided to not call strike three despite the pitch being in the zone and instead extended the plate appearance, allowing Betts to single, scoring Pederson and making it 5-0 Dodgers. Seager grounded out to end the inning.
Bottom 4th: Austin Meadows lined out to center with an exit velocity of 105 mph, Brandon Lowe struck out and Randy flew out 405 feet to center field, ending the inning with no runs despite lots of hard contact.
Top 5th: Morton struck out Justin Turner for out number one, showing signs that maybe he can carry himself through one more inning. I spoke too soon, as he walked Muncy and it marked the end of his outing. John Curtiss comes in to relieve Morton who was far from his best self tonight.
Curtiss got Will Smith to fly out before striking out Bellinger to end the inning.
Bottom 5th: Ji-Man Choi leads off... and he struck out. Margot comes up behind him.
A HIT! THE RAYS HAVE A HIT!
Margot doubled to left to remove any fears of a no-hitter. Joey Wendle struck out behind him.
Willy! He drives home Margot with a double of his own, but Kiermaier strands him by grounding out.
Top 6th: Curtiss struck out Chris Taylor to begin the inning, and got Pederson to pop out for out number two. Austin Barnes homered, giving the run we earned right back to LA. Then Betts singled. Then Seager walked. Thankfully Turner flew out to end the inning.
Bottom 6th: Zunino struck out to start the inning with Buehler still on the mound. Meadows singled to right for the third Rays hit of the game. Lowe struck out for the third time tonight and Arozarena struck out to end the inning, Buehler’s 10th K.
Top 7th: The Sherriff is in town to relieve Curtiss. Sherriff struck out Muncy before walking Will Smith. Cody Bellinger grounded out and Chris Taylor popped out to end the inning.
Bottom 7th: Blane Treinen enters the game to relieve Buehler who was brilliant tonight, although some poor plate appearances from the Rays helped out on that front. Choi grounded out for out number one while Margot struck out for the second out. Wendle struck out to end the inning.
Top 8th: Ryan Thompson is in now, striking out Enrique Hernandez for the first out. Austin Barnes grounded out for out number two. Betts grounded out for out number three with Choi making a nice pick at first.
Bottom 8th: Brusdar Graterol entered and had absolutely zero problem putting the Rays down 1-2-3, getting three groundouts on only seven pitches.
Top 9th: Shane McClanahan is in to pitch the ninth. Seager singled to put one on for Turner, but he flew out. Muncy flew out for out number two. Will Smith flew to send this game to the bottom of the ninth.
Bottom 9th: One last chance for the Rays offense. Kenley Jansen takes the mound for the Dodgers. Meadows K for the first out. Lowe flyout for the second out.
He hits a line drive home run to left, and although it won’t impact the final result, it does secure sole possession of the Postseason hits record for a rookie at 23 hits, while also tying him at eight home runs for most in a single Postseason.
The loss could not be avoided, as Choi flew out, and the Rays dropped this one 6-2.
Buehler was really good, the offense was really bad, and Morton was not in elimination-game form. It’s still anyone’s series, but this was not the best performance by the best team in the American League, at least offensively.