Brandon Lowe hit two home runs to power the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday that leveled the World Series at one game apiece.
Joey Wendle drove in three runs for the Rays, who will try to maintain momentum in Game 3 of Major League Baseball’s championship showcase on Friday.
Home runs from Chris Taylor, Will Smith and Corey Seager weren’t enough for the Dodgers, who were coming off a dominant 8-3 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday at the neutral site of Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Back in the World Series for the third time in four years, the Dodgers are in pursuit of their first title since 1988.
The Rays are seeking a first championship, having fallen in their only prior World Series appearance against Philadelphia in 2008.
Lowe gave Tampa Bay an early lead when he belted a fastball from Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin over the centerfield wall for a solo homer with one out in the first inning.
Gonsolin, making his third career post-season appearance, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, but he wasn’t the only one of the Dodgers’ platoon of pitchers to be victimized by Lowe, who lined a two-run blast over the left field wall off the Dodgers’ fourth pitcher of the night, Dustin May, in the fifth inning to give the Rays a 5-0 lead.
That was after Tampa Bay third baseman Joey Wendle smacked a line drive double off May to drive in two runs in the fourth.
‘We’re here to play’
Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell, meanwhile, used a devastating slider to pitch four no-hit innings before Taylor tagged him for a two-out homer in the bottom of the fifth that cut the deficit to 5-2.
Taylor’s blast also scored Enrique Hernandez who had walked, and Snell then walked Mookie Betts and gave up a single to Corey Seager, prompting manager Kevin Cash to pull him in favor of reliever Nick Anderson — who struck out Justin Turner to end the inning.
Snell had nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs with four walks.
“We’re good and we’re here to play,” Snell said after the win. “It’s not going to be an easy World Series, but we’ve got a really good team here.
“They’re going to have to bring it every night just like we’re going to have to.”
Joe Kelly took over on the mound for the Dodgers in the sixth, which Tampa Bay’s Choi Ji-man led off with a single up the middle.
Choi, the first non-pitcher from South Korea to play in a World Series, hoofed it around to third on a single from Margot and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wendle.
The Dodgers pulled a run back in the bottom of the sixth with Smith’s solo homer off Anderson, and Seager led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo shot off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks that pulled the Dodgers within two.
Turner followed with a double, but the Rays escaped the inning without further damage.
After Rays reliever Aaron Loup retired the first two Dodgers batters in the ninth, Diego Castillo came in to face Taylor and struck him out on three called strikes.