LA Dodgers beat Tampa Bay Rays to win World Series for first time since 1988

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Julio Urias and catcher Austin Barnes celebrate beating the Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Julio Urias and catcher Austin Barnes celebrate beating the Tampa Bay Rays

The Los Angeles Dodgers have won their first World Series in 32 years, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to secure a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven championship. Corey Seager gave LA the lead and Mookie Betts hit a home run in the eighth inning to seal victory, Seager was later named named the series’ Most Valuable Player.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was withdrawn midway through the game after it was confirmed he had tested positive for Covid-19. “Thanks to everyone reaching out,” Turner said on Twitter. “I feel great, no symptoms at all, just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine, can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys, so proud of this team and unbelievably happy for the city of LA. Turner’s withdrawal meant he was unable to celebrate the moment the Dodgers clinched victory, though he did return to the field for a team photo, taking off his mask.

The LA Dodgers posing for a team photo after winning the World Series
Justin Turner (seated, centre) returned to the field to celebrate with his Dodgers team-mates despite testing positive for Covid-19

It is the first positive coronavirus test in Major League Baseball since the end of the regular season nearly two months ago, with the final three rounds of the play-offs played at neutral venue ‘bubbles’ in San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and Arlington. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the positive test meant it was a “bittersweet” end to the season. We’re glad to be done, I do think it is a great accomplishment for our players to get this season completed but obviously we are concerned when any of our players tests positive, he said. We learned during the game that Justin tested positive, he was immediately isolated to prevent any spread.

LA Dodgers fans celebrate the moment their side clinch victory in the World Series
Around 11,000 fans were allowed into Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas to watch the game

It was the Dodgers’ third World Series appearance in four years, they were beaten by the Houston Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018. This is surreal, said catcher Austin Barnes, we’ve had our hearts broken so many times and this group has worked so hard, there’s a ton of emotion. The Rays, looking to win the World Series for the first time, could not take advantage of a dominant performance from starting pitcher Blake Snell, who gave up just two hits and no runs with nine strikeouts, including Betts and Seager twice.

However, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash decided to pull Snell in the sixth inning as he did not want him to face the dangerous Betts and Seager for a third time. The Rays were up 1-0 at that stage thanks to a Randy Arozarena home run, but Snell’s departure saw the momentum shift, with Barnes scoring from a wild pitch by Snell’s replacement Nick Anderson to level the game. Seager then hit a ground ball to first, with Betts diving to beat the throw home and put the Dodgers 2-1 ahead, with his homer sealing victory, around 11,000 fans were allowed into the 48,000-capacity Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, the first neutral venue to host the World Series, following a shortened season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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