The Rays scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come from behind and beat the Marlins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. The final four runs scored on a grand slam from Daniel Robertson, marking the first walk-off grand slam in Rays history.
Kyle Barraclough started the inning, but gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced: a double to Jake Bauers, a single to C.J. Cron, and an RBI single to Ji-Man Choi. Barraclough struck out Carlos Gomez and got Mallex Smith to ground out, seeming as if he would navigate his way out of trouble. But Willy Adames drew a walk to load the bases and bring up Robertson. After taking a first-pitch ball, Robertson pulled a 94 MPH four-seam fastball into the seats in left field to send the Rays home winners.
Robertson is batting .355/.378/.400 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, and 42 runs scored in 307 plate appearances this season.
Thanks to Robertson’s heroics, the Rays avoided being swept by the Marlins. The club is now 50-49, solidly in third place in the AL East. They’re nine games back of the second Wild Card slot.
One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.
NLCS Game 6
Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.
For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.
As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.