Saturday’s game gave this World Series its first white-knuckled, seesawing contest, and that was true even before it ended with the most improbable of comebacks in the most chaotic of fashions.
With Tampa Bay trailing by 7-6 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Phillips came to bat against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Phillips is a light-hitting outfielder, used mainly as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. His last hit and run batted in came during the regular season on Sept. 25. He is a career .202 hitter.
But Phillips laced Jansen’s 1-2 cutter into center fielder for a single that was probably enough on its own to score Kiermaier, who had gotten on base with a single and moved to second when Randy Arozarena drew a hard-fought walk. But as he charged Phillips’s hit, Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor misplayed the ground ball. Arozarena followed Kiermaier, tearing around the bases.
“From the moment of the hit, I needed to score,” Arozarena said.
And the speedy Arozarena might have been able to with ease had his helmet not come off and hit his back foot as he rounded third base. Arozarena tripped and fell, but then the Rays caught another stroke of luck: Dodgers catcher Will Smith whiffed at catching the relay throw from Max Muncy, allowing Arozarena to hop up, dash home and give the Rays an improbable come-from-behind victory.