Lowe ‘returns’ to help Rays even Series

by Gary Shelton on October 22, 2020

in general

Lowe finally made a bgt impact for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Hey, didn't you used to be Brandon Lowe?

Yeah, I recognize you. Same beaten up helmet. Same sweet swing. Same home run trot with your teammates waiting to slap palms with you.

You used to be quite the hitter, as I remember. A lot of home runs. A lot of RBI. Then, one day, you went missing. Whatever happened to you?

Oh, that. Well, welcome ba.

Brandon Lowe, missing in action through much of the playoffs, returned to his prominent spot in the Rays' batting lineup Wednesday night. He hit two home runs and drove in three in the Rays' 6-4 victory, a win that tied the World Series at one game each.

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It was only the second win ever in a World Series for the Rays (who were beaten 4-1 by Philadelphia in 2008).

For Lowe, the team's MVP during the regular season, it was the end to a painful post-season. In the team's last 13 games, he had hit just .083, and it was popular to wonder why he was still in the top third of the Rays' lineup.

This not only made up for it; it suggested that the Rays may make a series of this, after all. The Dodgers had looked so dominant in the first game that it hinted at an early finish. Now, it is a best of five series.

“To say that my mind wasn’t going different places in that kind of struggle would be lying to you," Lowe said. "There were times I wasn’t feeling too good, but that’s what ’s great about this team. As soon as I started dragging my feet someone was there to pick me up and tell me 'focus up and let’s get going.'

"(There was) pure joy going into that dugout after I hit that home run. Everyone was happy. Everyone was jumping up and down.It’s not an individual thing. It’s whatever helps the team win."

The Dodgers used seven pitchers in their version of a bullpen day, and they hit three home runs. But Lowe and Joey Wendle each drove in three runs for the Rays.

"What makes us all believe, he’s shown over time that he’s a really good hitter," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "A really good player. Sometimes guys, you’ve got to allow them to go through some tough patches. He’s been in one. It was exciting for the first home run. The second one really ignited us. He can go quiet for a little while, but he can get as hot as anyone in baseball."

The Rays also got a nice pitching effort from Blake Snell, who had a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings. In the fifth, however, Snell seemed to lose it. Over four straight hitters, he gave up a walk, a home run, another walk and a single.

“He was outstanding," Cash said. "Blake was really, really good. I know him and Kyle (Snyder, the pitching coach) talked a lot leading into the game  about a game plan. He followed it. He executed it. The slider, from my vantage point, looked like it was a big weapon for him. He was awesome. He gave us everything we needed.”

Snell agreed it was a good outing, but the fifth inning left him wanting more.

"I was frustrated with myself," Snell said. "The walk. The pitch to Taylor. I’m frustrated with the counts. I’m not going to get mad at Cash. I ‘ve got to make it harder for him to come out and pull me. You can’t blame him; he's trying to win a World Series game. I walked two guys in the last three at bats."

The Rays, who have shown they will use their best relievers early, inserted Nick Anderson after Snell. Then Pete Fairbanks. Then Aaron Loup. Then Diego Castillo for the save.

Three of the five Dodger hits were home runs.

The teams get a day off today, then play Game Three on Friday night at 8:08 p.m. in Arlington. The Rays will start Charlie Morton in that game. He will face the Dodgers' Walker Buehler.

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