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Charlie Morton off, bats quiet as Rays lose to Dodgers, 6-2

By Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Baseball

ARLINGTON, Texas — Charlie Morton was not postseason Charlie Morton on Friday.

And if the Rays don't start looking more like themselves soon, this World Series — and their season — could be over quickly. The Dodgers rolled to a 6-2 win and a 2-1 Series lead.

Game 4 in the best-of-seven Series is Saturday night, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is looming in Game 5 on Sunday.

If not for the pandemic-forced neutral site, Friday's game would have been played at Tropicana Field, and it turned out to be quite a disappointment.

Morton, whose dazzling postseason performances thrust him into the conversation as one of the game's all-time best, was anything but in a rough outing.

For the night, Morton allowed five runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.

By comparison, in his first three starts this postseason — including the decisive American League Championship Series Game 7 last Saturday — he allowed one earned run and 11 hits over 15 2/3 innings.

Making the night worse for the Rays, they couldn't do much of anything against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, going into the fifth before even getting a hit. They managed only three, and one run, over six innings, while striking out 10 times.

That made Buehler the first pitcher in Series history to record double-digit strikeouts in six or fewer innings.

 

The Dodgers struck early, taking the lead when Justin Turner homered off Morton in the first inning with two outs, and on a 1-2 pitch.

They added two in the third, again with two outs. Morton hit Corey Seager with a pitch, then after being ahead 0-2, allowed an RBI double to Turner. Max Muncy singled on a full-count pitch to make it 3-0.

The Dodgers extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson singled to put runners on the corners with one out, and Austin Barnes dropped a safety squeeze bunt, the kind the Rays used to do. A two-out, full-count single by Mookie Betts made it 5-0.

The Rays got their first run in the fifth, when Margot doubled with one out and Willy Adames did the same with two. The Dodgers added their sixth when Barnes homered with two outs, on an 0-2 pitch, off reliever Jon Curtiss.

Randy Arozarena hit his eighth home run of the postseason — tying a major league all-time record — with two outs in the ninth inning.

The game was played with the roof at Globe Life Field closed for the first time this postseason, due to temperatures dipping into the 40s and the threat of rain. Attendance was 11,447.

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