Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers won Major League Baseball's World Series for the first time since 1988, with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday, to seal the best-of-seven championship 4-2.
The Dodgers' triumph at their third World Series appearance in four years closed out a shortened season in which the final three playoff rounds were held at four neutral-site locations in a bid to limit spread of COVID-19.
Rays slugger Randy Arozarena gave his team the early lead when he sent a slider from Tony Gonsolin over the right field wall for a solo shot in the top of the first inning.
From there, Rays ace Snell took over, mowing down Dodger hitters until he gave up a one out single to Austin Barnes in the bottom of the sixth.
Then, in a decision that will no doubt haunt the Rays, manager Kevin Cash emerged from the dugout and pulled Snell out of the game despite the lefty only giving up two hits and no walks while striking out nine.
It did not take long for Cash's decision to backfire as Mookie Betts doubled down the third base line off reliever Nick Anderson in the next at-bat, moving Barnes down to third.
Barnes scored on a wild pitch by Anderson that moved Betts to third. The speedy Betts beat the throw home on a ground ball by Corey Seager to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Betts extended the Dodger lead to 3-1 with a solo blast off Pete Fairbanks the bottom of the eighth, leading to an eruption among the Dodgers fans in attendance at Globe Life Park, which permitted about 11,000 in the 48,000-capacity stadium.
The Dodgers, who employed a carousel of pitchers during the game, turned to lefty Julio Urias in the later innings and he was flawless getting out all seven batters he faced, including a strike-out of Willy Adames that ended the series.
The triumph was sweet relief for the long-suffering Dodgers organization as well as Major League Baseball, whose season once appeared doomed by COVID-19, when the pandemic cancelled Spring Training in mid-March and delayed Opening Day by months.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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