SAN DIEGO (AP) – Now virtually every baseball fan knows who the remarkable rookie Randy Arozarena is. And many are excited for these Rays who are preparing to play the World Series.
Arozarena hit another home run, Charlie Morton shone against his previous team and Tampa Bay finally finished off the Houston Astros, winning 4-2 on Saturday to advance to the World Series for just the second time in history.
After resolving a series in which they had a 3-0 advantage but in which they required to play a maximum of seven games, the Rays will face the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Atlanta Braves in the Fall Classic, which is will be held in Arlington, Texas, beginning Tuesday night.
The Braves and the Dodgers will also need to play a seventh game this Sunday night.
“If you sit here, you can see this group of players. I’ve always said we don’t have big names, but people make a name for what they do, ”said outfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
The only previous time the Rays had appeared in the World Series was in 2008, when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The groundbreaking Rays led the American League with a 40-20 record in the regular season, shortened by the pandemic. Known for their pitching and defensive virtues, they implemented the concept of reliever-only games and sometimes field four outfielders.
Now, they have celebrated the title of the Americana, in a National Park, one of the rarities in the year of the pandemic.
“If they didn’t know our names, by now they’ll know them, because we have some very good guys who can play,” added Kiermaier, the player who has been in the organization for the longest time.
It will have to start with Arozarena, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the series.
“I can’t say I was chasing this award, but I do try to do everything for the team, anything that allows us to win,” said the 25-year-old left fielder.
Tampa Bay snapped a three-game losing streak and prevented the Astros from matching the Boston Red Sox as the only major league team to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.
The Astros also couldn’t be the first team to win a league title after a negative record in the regular season (29-31).
The loss ended Houston’s first season since his sign-stealing traps were revealed. The Astros were considered by many fans as villains because of the scandal that broke out on hiatus between seasons, in connection with a scheme they implemented in 2017, when they won the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mike Zunino homered and produced two runs for the Rays, who avoided joining the New York Yankees in ignominy, who were winning 3-0 in the American League Championship Series and losing four in a row to the Sox. Red.
After that feat in 2004, Boston ended up winning the World Series crown, something it had been denied in 86 seasons.
Arozarena, virtually unknown before these playoffs, set a rookie record with his seventh home run in the postseason. His 21 hits fell within one of the record for a rookie in the playoffs, set by Derek Jeter in 1996.
The 25-year-old “Cuban Rocket” found a 1-1 Lance McCuller Jr. sinker and disappeared on the ball between Petco Park’s right-center field, when there was one out in the first inning, to produce two. careers.
Manuel Margot, who played with the San Diego Padres from the end of the 2016 season until he was traded to Tampa Bay for this season, was on board after being hit by a pitch.
Arozarena defected from Cuba in Mexico in 2015, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals a year later and made his major league debut last year. Loaned in trade to Tampa Bay before this season, he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to summer training and did not play his first game of 2020 until August 30.
For the Astros, Venezuelan José Altuve 4-2 with a run scored. Puerto Ricans Carlos Correa 4-1 with two RBIs, Martín Maldonado 1-0. The Cubans Yuli Gurriel 4-1, Aledmys Díaz 1-0 with a scored.
For the Rays, the Dominicans Margot 2-0 with a run scored, Willy Adames 2-0. The Cuban Arozarena 4-1 with one scored and two RBIs.