Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed an early three-run lead and held on for a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
With the victory, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and sit one win away from their first championship since 1988. Game 6 of the series is Tuesday night.
On the heels of a shocking loss to the Rays in the ninth inning of Game 4 on Saturday night, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw steadied the Dodgers with a strong pitching performance, plus an exceptional defensive play that prevented a run from scoring.
Kershaw, who beat the Rays for the second time in six days, escaped a fourth-inning jam when Manuel Margot nearly circled the bases. Margot drew a walk and reached third after stealing second and advancing again on an error.
Margot then tried for a rare steal of home, but was cut down by Kershaw at the plate to prevent the tying run.
"Well, it's happened to me before, at least one other time that I can remember," Kershaw said. "Carlos Gomez tried it against me in Houston one time. You know, I work on that with the first basemen."
Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy was ready for the steal attempt.
"I was fortunate enough to see one or two guys break hard, so I knew what to expect when he broke," Muncy said. "I sprinted toward Kersh and said, 'Home! Home! Home!'"
Corey Seager, the National League Championship Series MVP, continued his red-hot hitting this postseason with a single that scored Mookie Betts in the first inning. A few at-bats later, Cody Bellinger pushed the Dodgers' lead to 2-0 with an infield single.
Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson led off the second inning with a solo homer to deep center field, giving Los Angeles its early 3-0 advantage.
The Rays' offense finally got going in the third when Yandy Diaz tripled to right, scoring Kevin Kiermaier. Rookie sensation Randy Arozarena then singled to shallow left to score Diaz from third base to cut the Rays' deficit to 3-2.
Arozarena's run-scoring single was his 27th hit in the 2020 playoffs, setting a MLB record for most hits in a single postseason. The 25-year-old star already set the record for most home runs in one postseason (nine) during Game 4 of the series.
In the fifth inning, the Dodgers got a much-needed insurance run when Muncy blasted a 434-foot home run to right. The Rays stranded two runners in the eighth and another in the ninth, failing to replicate the miraculous comeback they had in the ninth inning of Game 4.
Kershaw allowed only two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He recorded six strikeouts to become the all-time postseason strikeout king with 207, breaking the record of 205 set last year by the Houston Astros' Justin Verlander.
Blake Treinen shut the door in the ninth for his first career postseason save. He gave up a leadoff single, but settled down with two strikeouts to seal the Dodgers' win.
"Kersh, a lot of credit goes to him for what we've been able to do in this World Series," Treinen said. "There's a tough narrative on him. He's a phenomenal pitcher on the biggest stage."
Tyler Glasnow gave up all four runs on six hits in five innings for the Rays. He struck out seven batters, but issued three walks. The Rays' bullpen didn't allow any hits after Glasnow departed.
The Rays are expected to send ace Blake Snell to the mound in Game 6, while the Dodgers have yet to reveal their starter.