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Rays Stick to Their Plan and Reach a 2nd World Series

  • October 18, 2020

Vindication came quickly for Cash when Brantley rolled the second pitch, a 97 mile-an-hour fastball, to second base for a groundout, keeping the shutout intact. When Brantley came up again in the eighth, Cash dutifully summoned a new pitcher, Pete Fairbanks, a hulking young right-hander who throws even harder than Anderson.

Fairbanks allowed two runs when Correa grounded a single to right against an overshifted infield. But he locked down the pennant in the ninth when Aledmys Diaz, the potential tying run, flied out to Manuel Margot in right.

It was Morton’s second victory of the A.L.C.S., and while he fired 10⅔ shutout innings in the series, the Most Valuable Player Award went to Arozarena, a breakout October star. Arozarena hit .321 in the A.L.C.S. — the rest of the Rays batted .183 — and smashed four home runs. He now has seven this postseason, a rookie record.

“We’ve been facing some great pitchers and some great teams,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “But the ball’s looking good. The ball’s looking real nice to me.”

His two-run homer in the first inning, off Lance McCullers Jr., erased any momentum the Astros had earned with their three wins while facing elimination. But Morton had a sense his team would be fine.

“After last night, it’s like — you give away a 3-0 lead, and I came to the park today and everybody’s just good to go, squared away, high energy in the first inning,” he said. “They’re out there just hungry for the win.”

It took longer than they had hoped, but the Rays got that win on Saturday, and they did it their way.

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