Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
The Tampa Bay Rays stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday following a ninth-inning sequence that must be seen to be believed:
With the Rays down 7-6, pinch hitter Brett Phillips got up with runners on first and second and two out. Following a ball, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen painted the black with two strikes to put Phillips in a hole.
However, the 26-year-old then punched a Jansen cutter into the outfield, scoring Kevin Kiermaier from second.
Chris Taylor then bobbled the Phillips hit, leading to a frenetic series of events. Randy Arozarena used the opportunity to steamroll home from first, but the Dodgers appeared to have him caught in a rundown after getting the ball into the infield quickly, especially after the Rays outfielder fell midway between third and home.
In the meantime, Dodgers catcher Will Smith took the relay from first baseman Max Muncy but couldn’t field it cleanly as he attempted a swipe tag, assuming Arozarena was still running for home.
Arozarena then used the opportunity to get back on his feet and sprint to home, giving the Rays the win.
Tampa Bay tied Los Angeles at two games apiece in the World Series despite Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager pacing his team’s offense with four hits, including a third-inning solo home run and what would have been the game-winning RBI single to score Taylor in the eighth had the Rays not come back.
Justin Turner also had four hits for the Dodgers, who had 15 on the night. Turner notably deposited a first-inning homer into the outfield seats for the second straight game.
Four Rays hit homers: Arozarena, Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe. Arozarena’s shot was his ninth playoff homer, marking a new MLB playoff record.
Dodgers SP Julio Urias: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 9 K
Dodgers SS Corey Seager: 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR
Dodgers 3B Justin Turner: 4-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR
Rays SP Ryan Yarbrough: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, K
Rays OF Randy Arozarena: 3-for-4, 3 R, RBI, HR
Rays 2B Brandon Lowe: 1-for-4, R, 3 RBI, HR
Brett Phillips Pilots Rays to Game 4 Win
Phillips has a .202 career batting average and 10 home runs in 153 regular-season games over four seasons with three teams.
He was left off the American League Championship Series roster and had just two career playoff at-bats (zero hits) entering Saturday.
Phillips, who joined the Rays via trade on Aug. 27, also had the odds stacked against him when Jansen got him down to his last strike, per Katie Sharp of Talkin’ Yanks:
None of that mattered whatsoever after Phillips entered his name into World Series lore by kickstarting what will assuredly be one of the most memorable sequences in Fall Classic history.
Phillips was known more for his intangibles before his big hit. He’s one of the game’s more entertaining and friendly players, with Alec Lewis of The Athletic recalling his time with the Kansas City Royals:
That was the case with the Milwaukee Brewers and now with the Rays as well, with ESPN’s Jeff Passan providing evidence:
More fun has been had on Tampa Bay, who acquired Phillips fewer than two months ago. Here he is battling Arozarena in a dance-off:
Phillips has delivered some viral content off the field, but he’s now done so on it after becoming a World Series hero. After scoring, he then flew in a makeshift airplane into the outfield:
He then followed up with one of the best (and real) postgame on-field interviews you’ll ever see:
The Rays, for the most part, feature a long list of cast-offs and players other teams gave up on cobbled together to form a team now just two wins away from the World Series.
They’re a fun and exciting team to watch, from Arozarena’ Barry Bonds-esque postseason to Ji-Man Choi’s splits to Tyler Glasnow’s blazing fastball and Kiermaier’s masterful outfield play.
Phillips played the part of bench player and great clubhouse guy before Saturday, but he’s now forced this World Series to make a hard pivot with one of the most clutch hits in playoff history, making this Fall Classic anyone’s title to take after evening the series at two.
Game 5 will take place Sunday at 8:08 p.m. ET, with Fox carrying the television broadcast and Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, playing host once again.