Dodgers double up on Rays to inch closer to World Series glory

Clayton Kershaw beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in six days, escaping a fourth-inning jam with a quick reaction throw to cut down a runner trying for a rare steal of home plate, and the Los Angeles Dodgers held on for a 4-2 win Sunday night and a 3-2 World Series lead.

With one more victory, the Dodgers would claim their first title since 1988.

Mookie Betts and Corey Seager sparked a two-run first inning, and Joc Pederson and Max Muncy homered off long-ball prone Tyler Glasnow, whose 100 mph heat was no match.

Kershaw was cruising when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed the 32-year-old left-hander in favour of Dustin May with two outs in the sixth inning. The mostly pro-Dodgers fans in the pandemic-reduced crowd of 11,437 booed when Roberts walked to the mound, well aware that closer Kenley Jansen wasted a ninth-inning lead in Saturday’s stunning 8-7 loss.

May got five outs and Victor Gonzalez stranded a pair of runners in the eighth by retiring Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe on flyouts.

Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his first ever post-season save.

The Rays will give the ball to left-hander Blake Snell in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Los Angeles hasn’t announced a starter and may empty the bullpen, with ace Walker Buehler in play on regular rest for Game 7 if necessary.

Thirty of the previous 46 teams to win Game 5 for a 3-2 lead have won the title, but just six of the last 14. Teams that wasted 3-2 leads include last year’s Houston Astros.

More to come.