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Dodgers Hold off Rays to Win Pivotal Game 5

Clayton Kershaw delivering to plate

After the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to walk off the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series on Saturday night thanks to a series of defensive debacles, the series was tied at two games apiece. 2019 NL MVP and Gold Glove Award winner Cody Bellinger, who had moved to designated hitter in Saturday’s lineup, returned to center field. Rookie catcher Will Smith also moved to the designated hitter spot in favor of Austin Barnes in order to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s mishaps. Clayton Kershaw had the ball for the Dodgers in a chance to prove his ability to pitch effectively late in a postseason series.

The roof was once again closed at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, located in Tarrant County, which had recorded 642 additional cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Indoor environments with poor ventilation foster the spread of the virus. Travel by fans from outside the community to attend the World Series means it is quite possible they could become infected at the stadium and spread COVID-19 upon returning home.

Dodgers 4, Rays 2

Dodgers lead series 3-2, best of 7

W: Kershaw; L: Tyler Glasnow; S: Blake Treinen

Kershaw was effective for the Dodgers, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 5.2 IP. He was given an early hook in order to prevent the late inning collapses that have plagued his postseason career. This proved to be the right decision for the Dodgers.

Glasnow had a shaky first inning for the Rays, giving up two early runs, but he settled in to last five innings. He allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

The Rays scored twice in the third inning on Yandy Díaz‘s triple to right field and Randy Arozarena‘s RBI single. This single was Arozarena’s 27th hit of the 2020 playoff campaign, breaking the MLB single-year postseason hits record previously held by three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval.

Tampa had an opportunity to tie the game in the 4th inning following an error on a stolen base attempt by Manuel Margot which allowed him to advance to third base with no outs. Joey Wendle popped out and Willy Adames struck out. With lefty Kevin Kiermaier at the place facing Kershaw in a two-out situation, Margot made a break for home plate and was caught stealing on a close play which ended the inning.

In the top of the 5th, Max Muncy‘s blast provided the Dodgers with an insurance run.

Tampa threatened in the 8th and 9th innings, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the 8th and tying run to the plate in the 9th, but they were unable to convert on their scoring opportunities.

The Dodgers’ victory means they will have an opportunity to clinch their first World Series title since 1988 with a win in Game 6 when play resumes on Tuesday at the Covid Life Barn in Arlington. The starting time is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET (Fox/Rogers SportsNet). 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (2020 Postseason: 2-2; 3.33 ERA) will take the mound for Tampa with their season on the line. The LA starter/opener is TBD.

Featured Image: Clayton Kershaw, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, at Camelback Ranch Glendale in Phoenix, Arizona USA March 18,2018 by Keeton Gale /