Tears of joy, festive tunes – and a crucial and savage victory for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Light hitter Phillips delivered a single tied with Kenley Jansen with two strikeouts down the ninth inning that turned into a late-game hitting when the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the ball twice, allowing for Arozarena to score and take the Rays to 8-7 victory on Saturday night for even this suddenly dramatic world series with two games apiece.
“Golly, what a special moment,” Phillips said.
Center fielder Chris Taylor misplayed Phillips’ right center ball for a mistake and chased it while Kevin Kiermaier scored the tying point. Arozarena continued to charge around third base but tripped and fell long before making it home.
He was able to get up and score when wide receiver Will Smith looked up too early and missed the throw, leaving him squirting towards the safety net as Arozarena dove over home plate.
“Once I saw Randy slide, I was like ‘Aw, shoot, at least we tied up’ and then he missed the ball,” Phillipes said. “I don’t know what happened but then he scored. Next thing I know, I fly around the outfield and get dragged and here I am. ”
Jansen came in ninth for the Dodgers and knocked out Yoshi Tsutsugo before a single from Kiermaier, the Rays’ oldest player. Arozarena, the rookie who broke his postseason record on the Ninth Homer earlier, netted a two-out goal to set up the wild end game.
The 26-year-old from Seminole, Fla., Was drafted by Houston and played for Milwaukee and Kansas City before Tampa Bay acquired him in August for a minor league. Lauded for his off-field defense, he hasn’t hit much in the majors, finishing the regular season with a career 0.202 average in 153 games. He had been 0 for 2 in the postseason and hadn’t beaten since Game 3 of the AL Division Series on October 7.
Phillips was excluded from the AL Championship Series roster, but shone as a cheerleader, writing fake scout reports on a clipboard touting Arozarena before dancing against him in battles after the team has locked the AL pennant.
“What a great team effort for this victory. It took almost 28 guys, ”Phillips said. “That’s the particularity of this team. Just all together our only goal is to win. We don’t rely on just one guy. It takes everyone, and man, baseball is fun. “