10/23 23:52 CDT Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead
Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) --- Walker Buehler pitched in the World Series like the
Los Angeles Dodgers' aces of old.
Think Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser, all leaders of
Now Buehler has the Dodgers two wins from the championship that has eluded them
Buehler struck out 10 over six innings in a pulsating performance, and Los
Angeles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night for a 2-1 World Series lead.
"Being a big-game pitcher and really succeeding on this stage, there's only a
few guys currently and throughout history," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
"He's in some really elite company,"
Justin Turner homered in the first inning against a surprisingly hittable
Charlie Morton, who was chased in the fifth.
Austin Barnes, the Dodgers' No. 9 hitter and catcher, added a sixth-inning
homer against John Curtiss. He became just the second player to drive in runs
with both a homer and a sacrifice bunt in the same Series game.
He'll probably remember the home run most.
?It's a cool little stat, but it's not easy to barrel the ball up against all
these really good pitchers," Barnes said.
Los Angeles overwhelmed Tampa Bay in all phases, leaving the Rays' scuffling
offense with a .206 batting average and 11 runs in the Series. The Rays' .133
average (6 for 45) against Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Buehler is the
lowest through three Series games against a team's starters since the Boston
Red Sox held the Philadelphia Phillies to .129 in 1915, according to STATS.
Julio Uras, a hard-throwing Mexican left-hander in a Dodgers lineage dating to
Valenzuela, starts Game 4 on Saturday night, while the Rays start Ryan
Yarbrough, who relieved in the first game.
Thirty-eight of 59 previous teams that won Game 3 for a 2-1 lead went on to
take the title.
Justin Turner and Austin Barnes homered for the Dodgers, who have outhomered
the Rays 7-4 in the Series and opponents 25-16 in the postseason. Barnes also
drove in a run with a squeeze, the second player with RBIs on a bunt and home
run in a Series game behind Hctor Lpez of New York Yankees in Game 5 of 1961.
Steely-eyed like Hershiser, who won MVP honors of the 1988 Series, Buehler has
supplanted Kershaw as the Dodgers' ace. He showed no indisposition from the
blister on his right index finger that has bothered him.
He has allowed one run in 13 Series innings that include seven scoreless in
Game 3 against Boston two years ago. He improved to 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four
postseason starts that include the win over Atlanta in Game 6 of the NL
Championship Series last weekend.
"I've taken the failures that I've had and tried to learn from them a little
bit," Buehler said.
The 26-year-old right-hander started 15 of 21 batters with strikes and threw
strikes on 67 of 93 pitches. Buehler didn't allow a hit until Manuel Margot's
one-out double in the fifth. Willy Adames then drove in Margot with another
Tampa Bay's only other hit off him was Austin Meadows' leadoff single in the
"You can see the fastball just pop through the zone," Rays manager Kevin Cash
said. "Other than a few breaking balls here or there, it was very much a there
it is, hit it approach. You totally understand and appreciate why he's so
Rays batters were kept off balance by his mix of 59 four-seam fastballs, 14
knuckle-curves, 12 sliders and eight cut fastballs. He became the first pitcher
in the Series with 10 or more strikeouts in six or fewer innings.
"That might have been the best I've ever seen him," Barnes said.
Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol followed with a perfect inning apiece.
Kenley Jansen finished the four-hitter, giving up Randy Arozarena's
record-tying eighth postseason homer.
Morton, a right-hander who turns 37 on Nov. 12, had entered unbeaten in seven
straight postseason decisions, one shy of Orlando Hernandez's record, including
wins in five consecutive postseason starts. But he took the loss, allowing five
runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings --- more than the four runs total he gave
up in his previous five postseason starts combined.
No Rays starter has finished the fifth inning in their last five Series starts
since Matt Garza in Game 3 against Philadelphia in 2008. Tampa Bay repeated its
pattern of a dozen years ago, losing the opener, winning the next game and
dropping the third.
"I wasn't particularly sharp," Morton said. "I felt like I was able to get two
strikes pretty quickly with a lot of guys and just not able to put them away."
Turner put the Dodgers ahead on Morton's 14th pitch, turning on a high 94.8 mph
fastball with a 1-2 count and driving the ball 397 feet over the left-field
wall. Turner's home run was the 11th of his postseason career over 69 games,
tying the team record set by Duke Snider over 36 games with the Brooklyn and
Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954-59.
Los Angeles extended the lead to 3-0 in the third when Morton hit Corey Seager
on a toe with a pitch, Turner doubled and Max Muncy drove a cutter into center
for a two-run single.
After singles by Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, Barnes drove in a run with
the safety squeeze to first baseman Ji-Man Choi, the first RBI bunt in the
Series since the Rays' Jason Barlett in Game 2 in 2008 and the first since for
the Dodgers since Billy Cox in 1953.
Mookie Betts followed with a two-out RBI single that made it 5-0, and Barnes
homered off John Curtiss in the sixth. Five of the Dodgers' first six runs
scored with two outs, raising their total to nine of 18 in the Series and 50 of
87 in the postseason.
"Obviously there's two outs, but you can still build an inning not giving away
at-bats," Betts said. "That's how you win a World Series."
Betts stole two bases, giving him three in the Series and six in the postseason.
Arozarena tied Barry Bonds (2002), Carlos Beltrn (2004) and Nelson Cruz (2011)
for homers in a postseason and set the rookie record for hits with 23, one more
than Derek Jeter in 1996.
Uras pitched three perfect innings for the win in Game 7 NLCS win. He is 4-0
with a 0.56 ERA in one postseason start and three relief appearances, allowing
one earned run and seven hits in 16 innings with 16 strikeouts and three walks.
Yarbrough threw 19 pitches in the opener, his only action since pitching five
innings against Houston on Oct. 13.
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