Sports Minute: Vaunted bullpen wobbles, hangs on as Rays get even with LA
By SCHUYLER DIXONAP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tampa Bay's stable was a little shaky — and still managed to close out Game 2 of the World Series.
The Rays had to lean on their bullpen after ace Blake Snell faded, with Diego Castillo getting the save after Aaron Loup retired each of his three batters in Tampa Bay's 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
The group manager Kevin Cash described as a "a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 miles per hour” helped carry the Rays to their first World Series win since 2008. But the relief corps haven't been quite so dominant in this Fall Classic.
Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks each surrendered a solo homer as the Dodgers closed to 6-4 heading to the ninth. And that's after two inherited runners scored to help Los Angeles take a comfortable lead in Game 1 when starter Tyler Glasnow left in the fifth inning of Tampa Bay's 8-3 loss.
But it was enough, with Castillo getting his third save this postseason on a strikeout of Chris Taylor, who checked his swing and was called out by first base umpire Chris Guccione.
Snell became the only other pitcher besides Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax to strike out at least eight without allowing a hit in the first four innings of a World Series game. The lefty faded after allowing Taylor's two-run homer in the fifth and was gone two batters later.
Like Snell, all four relievers behind him made their World Series debuts.
Anderson struck out Justin Turner with two on in a 4-2 game in the fifth, then gave up Will Smith's solo shot in the sixth to trim Tampa Bay's lead to 6-3.
Fairbanks, pitching across the street from the ballpark where he made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers last year, replaced Anderson and pitched a perfect seventh.
The hard-throwing right-hander acquired in a trade last summer surrendered Corey Seager's seventh homer of this postseason leading off the eighth, cutting the lead to 6-4.
Turner followed with a double, Max Muncy flied out and after a mound visit, Smith smashed a liner to third base that was snared by Wendle for the second out. That's when Loup came on.
The lefty Loup got the first two outs of the ninth — the second on a flyout just shy of the warning track in left by Austin Barnes.
The last few outs were more like a low-cost bullpen that dominated all year for the small-market Rays.
Twelve different pitchers converted at least one save during the regular season, matching the major league record despite the compressed schedule, and the group had a 3.37 ERA, third in the majors.
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