Dodgers take World Series opener as offense stings Rays – Press Enterprise

Dodgers take World Series opener as offense stings Rays – Press Enterprise

ARLINGTON, Texas — Celebrate responsibly.

His right shoulder still sore from the overamped forearm bash that popped it out on Sunday, Cody Bellinger ditched the forearm but kept the bash, opting for foot taps all around after clubbing a two-run home run in the fourth inning of World Series Game 1 on Tuesday night.

“I said it today before the game,” Bellinger said. “I said, ‘If I hit one today, I’m not touching anybody’s arm. I’m going straight foot.’ It was pretty funny.”

That was just the beginning of the celebratory moments for the Dodgers, who gave Clayton Kershaw the kind of support he has always deserved in the postseason and went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3, at Globe Life Field.

The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the World Series 72 times including 21 of the past 26 years (though not in 2017).

“If we play at our best – no,” Kershaw said with surprising candor after the game when he was asked if anyone could beat the Dodgers when they are playing well. “I think we are the best team and I think our clubhouse believes that. There’s going to be certain times when we get beat. That happens. But as a collective group, if everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing and playing the way they’re supposed to, I don’t see how that can happen.”

That sounded like visions of a championship party are dancing in Kershaw’s head after such a decisive win in the opener against the Rays.

“It’s hard not to think about winning. It’s hard not to think about what that might feel like,” he admitted. “But I think that’s what I have to do. I think that’s what we have to do as a team is – just tomorrow. Just constantly keep putting that in your brain. Win tomorrow. Win tomorrow. Win tomorrow. And then you do that three more times and you can think about it all you want. It is hard not to let that creep in.”

Before the Dodgers could, it was Rays starter Tyler Glasnow who announced his presence with authority in the first inning. Six of his 19 pitches were 99 mph – or faster. Through three innings, the Dodgers had just one hit, had drawn two walks and struck out five times.

But Max Muncy led off the fourth inning by drawing a walk – his 16th in 14 games this postseason.

Two batters later, Bellinger turned on a 98-mph first-pitch fastball and drove it into the right field seats. Bellinger clearly enjoys the heat – it was his fourth career at-bat against the hard-throwing Glasnow and third home run (the first two coming in 2018 when Glasnow was still with the Pittsburgh Pirates).

“I don’t know. I really don’t,” Bellinger said, unable to explain that success rate. “He’s got really good stuff. Today was just a moment where I tried to get the run in and stayed simple with it.”

Glasnow walked Chris Taylor and struck out two to finish off the inning but he threw 30 pitches in the process, pushing his pitch count for the game to 86. Known for their foresight and missionary adherence to the gospel of numbers, the Rays nonetheless sent Glasnow back out to face the Dodgers’ lineup a third time starting with the fifth inning.

Mookie Betts and Corey Seager greeted him by drawing two more walks. Justin Turner struck out but Betts and Seager pulled off a double steal (as they had to great effect in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Padres).

Betts wasn’t done. When Muncy bounced a ball to first baseman Yandy Diaz, Betts had taken such an aggressive secondary lead that he beat Diaz’s throw home with a headfirst dive even though the Rays had been playing the infield in.

“Stolen bases are a thing for me,” Betts said. “That’s how I create runs, cause a little havoc on the bases. I take pride in stealing bases. Once I get on the bases, I’m just trying to touch home and however I get there is how I get there. I’m going to be aggressive on the basepaths.”

With his dive, Betts became the first player to walk and steal multiple bases in an inning during the World Series since Babe Ruth did it in Game 2 of the 1921 World Series.

Wonder if those two guys have anything else in common.

Rays manager Kevin Cash stayed with Glasnow for one more batter and Will Smith singled in another run on Glasnowvs 112th pitch – the most any Rays pitcher has thrown in a game this season. That they came in just 4-1/3 innings made it the shortest start by a pitcher who threw at least 110 pitches in a postseason game since postseason pitch counts were first tracked in 1988.

The Dodgers greeted his replacement, lefty Ryan Yarbrough, with back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Taylor and Kiké Hernandez, making it a four-run inning against a team whose only true superpower is run prevention.

Betts took a different route to creating a run in the sixth, leading off with a home run, making him the second player to homer and steal two bases in a World Series game (Chase Utley did it for the Phillies in 2008, also in a Game 1 against the Rays) and the first to do it while scoring twice.

“Mookie’s pretty special,” Kershaw said. “He does things on a baseball field that not many people can do. And he does it very consistently which I think separates him from a lot of guys.”

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