Brett Phillips makes himself a World Series hero for the Tampa Bay Rays
The 2020 Tampa Bay Rays have a few hallmarks, among them these: they never give up, and you never know who’s going to be the hero on any particular day.
In Game 4 of the World Series, in the early morning hours on the east coast, it was the turn of Brett Phillips, perhaps the unlikeliest hero of them all. The 26-year-old began the year playing for the Kansas City Royals; since joining the Rays in late August, he was batting .150 with three RBI in 17 games. His last hit was exactly one month ago, on Sept. 25; he hadn’t had an at-bat since the ALDS more than two weeks ago.
But there he was, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Rays desperate last hope to avoid falling down in the series 3-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And he came through, lining a single on a 1-2 cutter from Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to right field that scored Kevin Kiermaier to tie the game 7-7. The game seemed destined for extra innings when Randy Arozarena got hung up trying to score, but catcher Will Smith dropped the throw allowing Arozarena to score the winning run.
Twitter reacts to the wild ending of World Series Game 4
Phillips is the first player to drive in the winning run while trailing with two outs in the ninth of a World Series game in more than 30 years. The last one was a more pleasant memory for Dodgers fans and one of the iconic moments of baseball history: Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
It was a topsy-turvy game, an instant classic in the truest sense. There were four lead changes. The teams combined to score at least one run in eight straight half-innings, a new World Series record. The Dodgers didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning on offense and still lost.
The loss means the Dodgers won’t be able to close out the series with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for Game 5 later on Sunday night. The series is now tied, the Rays suddenly have grabbed the momentum, and Phillips is the newest World Series hero, one no one could’ve seen coming.