Blake Snell kept the best offense from the regular season off balance and Brandon Lowe hit two home runs as the Tampa Bay Rays drew even in the World Series on Wednesday with a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 at Arlington, Texas.
Snell did not give up a hit until the fifth when the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor hit a home run.
Despite a rapidly rising pitch count, the left-hander, in his first career World Series start, befuddled a Los Angeles offense that scored eight runs in a Game 1 victory Tuesday and hit a major league-leading 118 home runs during the regular season. Snell gave up two runs on two hits over 4 2/3 innings with four walks and nine strikeouts while throwing 88 pitches.
Lowe got the Rays’ offense started with a solo home run in the first inning off Dodgers rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin, then hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning off another Dodgers rookie in right-hander Dustin May.
Gonsolin was used at the outset but it was essentially a bullpen game because the team did not have a fully rested starter. The Dodgers used three starters Sunday in their Game 7 victory in the National League Championship series against the Atlanta Braves.
Gonsolin (0-1) gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings, becoming the first starting pitcher to record just four or fewer outs in a World Series start since the San Francisco Giants’ Jake Peavy in Game 6 of the 2014 Series. The Dodgers used seven pitchers in the defeat.
The Rays never trailed in winning just the second World Series game in franchise history and the first since Game 2 in 2008 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays lost that series in five games.
The Rays increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when Joey Wendle hit a two-run double off May.
Lowe’s two-run shot in the fifth off May increased the lead to 5-0. Lowe, who led the Rays in the regular season with 14 home runs, had a hit in each of Tampa Bay’s first two games of the postseason, but was batting .083 with one home run in 13 games since.
Taylor’s two-run home run with two outs in the fifth, his first in 12 games for the Dodgers this postseason, cut the Rays lead to 5-2. Mookie Betts followed with a walk, and Corey Seager singled. Snell was then replaced by right-hander Nick Anderson (1-0). Justin Turner struck out to end the threat representing the tying run.
The Rays increased their lead to 6-2 in the sixth inning on a Wendle sacrifice fly, giving him three RBIs.
The Dodgers got the run back in the bottom of the sixth on a home run from Will Smith off Anderson, and another by Seager in the eighth against Pete Fairbanks to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Los Angeles again had the tying run at the plate in the eighth with nobody out but Max Muncy flew out and Smith lined out against Fairbanks, while Cody Bellinger struck out against left-hander Aaron Loup.
Diego Castillo recorded the final out of the game, striking out Taylor, to earn his third save of the postseason.