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World Series Game 4: The 5 moments that mattered most in MLB's latest instant classic

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·5-min read

What the World Series lacked in drama the first three games, it more than made up for in Game 4. The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in an epic back-and-forth battle that injected new life and renewed intrigue into the series.

Of course, many past World Series have had a game similar to this. Remember Game 5 between the Dodgers and Astros in 2017? But not every game like this follows a script as bonkers as what we witnessed Saturday night at Globe Life Field.

From the fifth inning on, it felt like every half inning provided a new twist. And it all led to one of the wildest endings not only in baseball or even World Series history, but sports history.

That’s not hyperbole, folks. Watch for yourselves.

The Bill Buckner vibes are real. If the Dodgers lose this series, that play could haunt them for a long, long time.

But as wild and unfathomable and iconic and final as that game-ending play was, it was just one play. Here, now, is a look at four other must-see moments that set the stage for THE must-see moment.

Randy Arozarena makes history again

Everything starts and ends with Randy Arozarena. We truly mean it. The Rays postseason MVP not only drew a critical two-out walk and scored the winning run for Tampa Bay, he got them on the scoreboard with his record-setting ninth postseason home run.

Is that legal?

When this isn’t the most talked about play in a World Series game, then you know something wild has happened.

After driving home a run, Max Muncy tried advancing to second base. The result was this awkward bear hug and/or tackle by Rays shortstop Willy Adames that pulled a previously safe Muncy off the base for an out.

The scene immediately took fans back to Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, when Minnesota Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek quite literally pulled Ron Gant of the Atlanta Braves off the base for an out.

A little less dramatic, maybe. But it’s the same result that drew the same outrage from Dodgers fans.

As for the rule here: It’s the umpire’s judgment to determine whether the fielder intentionally pulled the runner off the base, or whether it was the fielder’s momentum. Agree or not, the crew in Game 4 decided it was momentum. And truth be told, that may be the moment Game 4 turned in the Rays’ favor.

Immediate redemption

In the sixth inning, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe hit an opposite-field two-run home run — his third of the World Series — to give Tampa Bay the lead.

Literally minutes later, Lowe went from definite hero to almost hero when his diving effort on Joc Pederson’s two-run single came up just short.

First of all, you can’t fault the effort. Lowe sold out to make the grab. It was just struck too hard.

Second, you probably thought this was a Dodgers highlight? Well, not entirely.

The Rays got some redemption at the end of the play by throwing out Cody Bellinger at third base. In a game decided by one run, the outs made by Muncy and Bellinger on the bases may have made the difference.

Corey Seager temporarily saves the day

It wasn’t all bad for the Dodgers. It was just mostly terrible from about the sixth inning on.

Here, we present a good moment. With two outs in the eighth inning, Corey Seager, who hit his eighth postseason home run earlier, dropped the bloopiest bloop single into left field to give Los Angeles its third lead of the game.

Now here’s some more bad.

Had Seager not dropped that hit into left field, more people would be talking about this failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Kiké Hernández that never should have been called in the first place.

There were several reasons why this bunt was destined to fail even if it succeeded, which it didn’t.

First and foremost, the Dodgers bullpen hasn’t been reliable enough to play for a one-run lead. Second of all, Kiké Hernández hasn’t sacrificed since 2018 and has been a clutch postseason hitter. Let him hit. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Dodgers had already given away too many outs in a close and unpredictable game.

In many ways, the failed bunt may actually define Game 4 better than any other play that happened. Why? Because the tenor of this game didn’t call for small ball in any form. It called for a knockout, which the Dodgers couldn’t deliver while trying to kick Tampa Bay in the shins.

How the game ended wasn’t predictable, but the outcome was easy to see coming based on everything that came before it.

How did World Series Game 4 reach the mind-bending conclusion that saw the Tampa Bay Rays tie up the series? It started with these key plays.(Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
How did World Series Game 4 reach the mind-bending conclusion that saw the Tampa Bay Rays tie up the series? It started with these key plays.(Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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