The Dodgers took advantage of the Rays’ decision to pull ace Blake Snell in the sixth inning, as Los Angeles tagged reliever Nick Anderson for the winning runs en route to a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay in Game 6 to end the club’s World Series drought.
Los Angeles reached the championship series in 2017 and 2018, but fell short in each year.
“Man, it is surreal,” said Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, who caught the final out. “We work so hard, man. We’ve had our hearts broken so many times. This group works so hard, and it’s hard to explain. It’s a ton of emotion.”
The victory marked the Dodgers’ first World Series title since the 1988 season, when the team defeated the Oakland Athletics in five games. It is the franchise’s sixth World Series championship since relocating from Brooklyn to Los Angeles ahead of the 1958 season, and seventh overall.
“This is our year. We said it,” Roberts said. “This is our year. Everyone in this ballpark wearing Dodger blue — everyone all over the world wearing Dodger blue — never wavered. This is our year, and these players right here showed what toughness is all about. I’ve never been around a group that’s closer.”
The Rays grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when rookie Randy Arozarena, who has shattered numerous records this postseason, belted a solo home run to right field off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin.
Behind Snell, the Rays carried that 1-0 lead into the sixth inning. He gave up only one hit and had nine strikeouts through five innings, but was removed after Barnes’ single with one out in the bottom of the inning.
With Snell out of the picture, the Dodgers immediately went after Anderson. Mookie Betts doubled to left to advance Barnes to third. Barnes then scored on a wild pitch by Anderson to tie the game at one run apiece.
Corey Seager, who was named this year’s World Series MVP, put the Dodgers in front for good by hitting a ground ball to first that scored Betts from third.
“The only motive was that the lineup the Dodgers feature is as potent as any in the league,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Personally, I felt Blake had done his job and then some. Mookie coming around the third time. I totally value and respect the questions that come with it.
“Didn’t want Mookie or Seager seeing Blake a third time. There was no set plan. As much as people think, there’s no set plan.”
Betts put the finishing touches on the Dodgers’ championship victory with a towering solo home run in the eighth. He went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and the leadoff homer.
Gonsolin gave up one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings for the Dodgers. Julio Urias shut the door in the ninth inning to earn the save.
After the game, Fox Sports reported that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was pulled in the eighth inning because of a positive coronavirus test. During postgame interviews, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Turner was immediately isolated after learning of the test result.
The Dodgers’ World Series win comes more than two weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship inside the NBA bubble near Orlando, Fla. This second title for the city comes in a year when the coronavirus pandemic altered sports seasons around the world.