One night after blowing a late-inning lead and losing on a botched play a home plate in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers road the arm of Clayton Kershaw and came up with enough offense to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in Arlington, Texas.
Kershaw allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks in 5 ⅔ innings to register his second victory of the World Series and fourth of this postseason. It’s the first time he has won four games in any postseason during his career.
With the win, the Dodgers moved to within one victory of the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988.
Kershaw was asked about L.A.’s position with the chance to close it out on Tuesday night.
“It’s very exciting, but at the same time we’ve got to win one more game,” the veteran lefty said. “I’m going to keep it together for one more game. We’re going to win one more.”
Kershaw admitted that he didn’t have his best stuff and called it “a book of grinds” to get through into the sixth inning.
His best work came in the fourth when the Rays had runners at first and third with no outs. Kershaw did not allow a run in the inning, allowing the Dodgers to hold on to their 3-2 lead at the time. The inning ended when Kershaw threw out Manuel Margot trying to steal home.
The Dodgers got to work, offensively, in the first inning off of Tampa Bay hard-throwing right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Mookie Betts led off with a double and scored on Cory Seager’s hard base hit to right field. Later in the first, Cody Bellinger legged out an infield single that scored Seagar from third to give L.A. a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers made it 3-0 in the second when Joc Pederson launched a solo home run. After the Rays scored their only two runs of the game in the third off of Kershaw, Max Muncy provided some insurance for L.A. with a solo home run in the fifth off of Glasnow.
The Dodgers’ bullpen took over for Kershaw and delivered a lights-out performance. Dustin May pitched 1 ⅔ scoreless innings. Victor Gonzalez followed with ⅔ off an inning and former Oakland A’s closer Blake Treinen finished off the Rays by pitching a scoreless ninth inning, during which he struck out two.
The Dodgers, who lead the best-of-seven World Series three games to two, can clinch the title with a win on Tuesday night.