ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Max Muncy knew, right away. He flung his bat down as the ball sailed toward the seats in right-center.
It was long gone.
Muncy connected for a big solo homer Sunday night, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in Game 5 of the World Series.
The 30-year-old Muncy, who played high school baseball about 25 miles from the new Texas Rangers ballpark, went deep against Tyler Glasnow with two outs in the fifth inning. Muncy’s second career World Series homer traveled an estimated 434 feet and gave Los Angeles a 4-2 lead.
“When you connect on 100 miles an hour, there’s probably not a better feeling out there than that,” Muncy said. “That’s one of those things where I didn’t actually feel it hit the bat.”
The Dodgers took a 3-2 in the Series in pursuit of their first championship since 1988. Game 6 is Tuesday night.
Muncy also was involved in another big play, helping alert left-hander Clayton Kershaw to Manuel Margot’s attempted steal of home in the fourth. Kershaw alertly stepped off the rubber and threw to catcher Austin Barnes for the final out of the inning.
“Thankfully he knew what to do when I ran yelling at him, telling him ‘Guy going home,’” Muncy said. “He didn’t panic. He did what he’s supposed to do.”
PHILLIPS’ MEMORABLE MOMENT
Brett Phillips got so excited in the aftermath of his two-out single in the ninth inning of Game 4, the one that started a wild game-ending play with two errors and two runs for Tampa Bay in an 8-7 victory, that he got sick.
Phillips’ head started pounding, and the athletic training staff covered his head with a towel to calm him after the crazy celebration that followed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ miscues that allowed Randy Arozarena to score the winning run from first base.
“During the celebration, just exhausting a lot of energy, and I almost passed out. I didn’t realize I was dehydrated,” Phillips said Sunday. “I had to get an IV — first time, getting an IV. … When I went to the training room, my resting heart rate was over 140 just laying there. They were like, ‘We’ve got to chill you down. Chill out.’ But it was all worth it. Just a little hyperventilation going on inside me.”
Phillips said he had a little more than 500 text messages when he got back to the hotel, and he didn’t go to bed until about 4 a.m. after replying to “every single one of those messages. That’s something I take a lot of passion into, thanking everyone that supported me.”
Phillips’ wife, Bri, was not at Globe Life Field for the big moment.
“Her family, my mom, my stepdad, they all left. The only people that stayed was my sister, my dad and fiancée,” Phillips said. “But I told them I’m glad that they left because I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. And who knows if they would have stayed, if that would have happened? So, sure they regret it a little bit, but I by no means got upset.”
Clayton Kershaw is now the career leader for postseason strikeouts. The ace lefty for Los Angeles struck out six in his 5 2/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win in Game 5 on Sunday night.
Already one of only two pitchers with 200 postseason strikeouts, his six strikeouts pushed his career total to 207, two more than Justin Verlander.
Kershaw passed Verlander when he struck out Kevin Kiermaier in the fifth, then promptly added to his total when he struck out Mike Zunino on an 87-mph slider.
There could be a lid on the rest of this World Series.
The retractable roof was closed for Game 5, and may not open again because of the weather forecast.
Along with the dreary, misty conditions outside Globe Life Field before the start of Sunday’s game, there was an increasing chance of rain into the night, and beyond.
It was the second time during the World Series that the retractable roof at the new $1.2 billion stadium was closed for a game. The other was Game 3 on Friday night, when it was breezy and chilly with a chance of rain. The roof had been open for all 12 postseason games played there before that. The Dodgers swept a three-game National League Division Series and won a seven-game NL Championship Series in the same ballpark.
The forecast calls for a 90% chance of rain Monday with temperatures in the mid-50s. That drops to a 70% chance of rain Tuesday, when Game 6 will be played, but back up to 90% with temperatures staying in the 40s Wednesday, when a seventh game would be played, if necessary.
The roof was open Saturday night, when it was 57 degrees at first pitch, about 25 degrees cooler than for Games 1 and 2 of the Series.
Rays rookie Randy Arozarena has more postseason records than his nine homers.
Arozarena’s ninth homer came in Game 4 on Saturday night, an MLB record for a single postseason that already matched Evan Longoria’s franchise career mark. That homer came as part of his fifth three-hit game this postseason, already a MLB record, as were his 60 total bases.
His RBI single in the third inning of Game 5 was his 26th postseason hit, matching Pablo Sandoval’s record set in 2014 with the San Francisco Giants, and equaling B.J. Upton’s career mark for the Rays. He was one extra-base hit shy of matching the major league postseason mark of 14 by David Freese with St. Louis in 2011.
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