Walker Buehler dominated across six innings and the Dodgers picked apart Rays starter Charlie Morton to earn the Game 3 victory. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is set for Saturday night.
“I’ve taken the failures that I’ve had and tried to learn from them a little bit,” Buehler said. “Obviously our team gave me a cushion early so I could be aggressive.”
Justin Turner got the Dodgers’ offense going with a solo home run to left in the first inning. Max Muncy’s two-RBI single in the third extended the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the fifth after Austin Barnes’ sacrifice bunt and Mookie Betts‘ RBI single. Betts also had two stolen bases, giving him three in the series.
The Rays’ bats finally answered in the bottom of the fifth when Willy Adames bashed a double to score Manuel Margot. But the Dodgers instantly responded in the next inning with Barnes’ 425-foot solo homer to deep center, giving Los Angeles a 6-1 advantage.
Rays rookie Randy Arozarena — the 2020 ALCS MVP — smacked a solo home run in the ninth to bring the final score to 6-2, tying the record for most homers in a single postseason in the process. Barry Bonds (2002), Carlos Beltran (2004) and Nelson Cruz (2011) each recorded eight home runs in one postseason.
Buehler (1-0) allowed only one run on three hits in his six innings. He also notched 10 strikeouts and walked one. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up the solo homer to Arozarena in the final inning.
Morton (0-1), who entered the third game of the series unbeaten in seven consecutive postseason decisions, gave up five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and issued one walk.
“I wasn’t particularly sharp,” Morton said. “I felt like I was able to get two strikes pretty quickly with a lot of guys and just not able to put them away.”
The Dodgers are expected to send out Julio Urias for Game 4, while the Rays will throw several relievers.