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Thursday June 17th, 2021 1:42AM

The Latest: Snell in command, 9 Ks in Game 6

By The Associated Press
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

Rays starter Blake Snell is cruising through the Dodgers lineup for a second time, helping Tampa Bay maintain a 1-0 lead through four innings.

Snell overwhelmed the Dodgers’ 2-3-4 hitters in the fourth, striking out Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Max Muncy. Snell has nine strikeouts and only allowed one hit on 55 pitches. The left-hander hasn’t completed five innings since Game 1 of the AL Championship Series but seems primed to go deep in this one.

The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner isn’t always so reliable in the middle innings. Snell limited batters to a .140 average the first time through the order in the regular season but allowed a .307 mark the second time around.

Dodgers starter-turned-reliever Alex Wood completed two perfect innings by striking out a pair in the fourth. The left-hander with a funky delivery has punched out five over four scoreless innings during the World Series.

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8:25 p.m.

Blake Snell is through three innings and his Rays still lead 1-0. Chris Taylor hit a leadoff single to become the Dodgers’ first runner, but was stranded at second base when Snell struck out Mookie Betts for the second time in the game.

Snell has fanned six in three innings. Tampa Bay keeps helping itself with its gloves, too.

Third baseman Joey Wendle and first baseman Ji-Man Choi teamed up for one out and catcher Mike Zunino neatly blocked a breaking ball by Snell to prevent Taylor from advancing.

Alex Wood became the Dodgers’ third pitcher of the game when he took over to begin the third, and he breezed through a perfect inning.

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8 p.m.

Tony Gonsolin is gone early again, and Blake Snell hasn’t allowed a hit through two innings again at the World Series.

The Los Angeles starter was replaced by Dylan Floro after walking Ji-Man Choi to put two on with two outs and Tampa Bay leading 1-0. Manager Dave Roberts made the same move in the Rays’ 6-4 victory in Game 2, when Gonsolin and Snell both started.

Floro got an inning-ending strikeout of Randy Arozarena, the rookie who extended his record with his 10th homer of the postseason in the first.

The LA-tilted crowd among the pandemic-reduced total of about 11,000 is trying to get its club going with frequent chants of “Let’s go Dodgers” in the neutral-site Series in Texas. Snell is snuffing it out so far.

The Tampa Bay ace had another perfect inning, striking out two after fanning the side in the first. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning in Game 2.

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7:35 p.m.

Randy Arozarena extended his postseason record with his 10th home run and Blake Snell struck out the side as the Tampa Bay Rays took a 1-0 lead after the first inning in Game 6 of the World Series, when a win by the Los Angeles Dodgers would give them their first title since 1988.

It was Arozarena’s third homer in the World Series, the first time a rookie has hit three in the Series since Charlie Keller did it for the New York Yankees in 1939. Arozarena became the first rookie to drive in a run in four consecutive Series games.

Arozarena went the opposite way in the top of the first, homering to right off rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin with one out. Austin Meadows then hit a hard single and Brandon Lowe, who homered off Gonsolin in Game 2, walked before Manuel Margot had a flyout and Joey Wendle struck out.

Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, struck out Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. The lefty struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings as the Rays won Game 2, when he didn’t allow a hit in that game until the fifth.

The Dodgers went in with hopes of getting five or six innings out of Gonsolin. He was in an opener role and pitched only 1 1/3 innings in Game 2.

Gonsolin needed 25 pitches to get through the first inning, and the Dodgers had Alex Wood warming up briefly in the bullpen only five batters into the game.

It was also the fifth consecutive game in this World Series when a run was scored in the top of the first inning. That had never happened before.

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7:10 p.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 3-2 World Series lead into Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, one win from their first title since 1988.

The Dodgers were in Brooklyn when they lost the World Series in 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953, then finally won their first championship when Johnny Podres completed an eight-hit shutout in Game 7 in 1955 when Elston Howard grounded to Pee Wee Reese, who threw to first baseman Gil Hodges for the final out.

After moving to Los Angeles following the 1957 season, the Dodgers added titles in 1959, when Larry Sherry was MVP after getting two wins and two saves, and 1963 and 1965, when Sandy Koufax went 4-1 and was twice MVP. Titles followed in 1981 and in 1988, the latter when Orel Hershiser earned the MVP by going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

While Tony Gonsolin started Game 6 on Tuesday night, ace Walker Buehler was lined up to start a Game 7, with Clayton Kershaw available in the bullpen after throwing 85 pitches Sunday in Game 5 for his second win of the Series.

Blake Snell started Game 6 for the Rays. Charlie Morton was set to start Game 7 after allowing five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a Game 3 loss last Wednesday. Morton said he would be available in relief in Game 6 if needed. Morton, who turns 37 on Nov. 12, hopes to pitch next season but is not sure whether the Rays or any other team will want him.

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5:45 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays received some encouraging words from former President Barack Obama ahead of Game 6.

Obama spoke at a rally in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and referenced the Rays’ five-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies 12 years ago.

“I don’t know if we’ve got any Tampa Bay Rays fans here in Orlando,” Obama said. “Big game tonight. It’s do-or-die time. The last time the Rays were in the World Series in 2008, Florida sent me to the White House. The Rays fell just a bit short then, but, here in Florida, Democrats fell a little bit short in 2016 also. Over the next couple of weeks, Florida, you’ve got the chance to fix two mistakes. You’ve got the chance to set two things right. You can bring a World Series championship to the Sunshine State, and you can send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.”

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5:20 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays are going with the same nine players in the batting order for Game 6 against Tony Gonsolin, but shuffled the top four for their second game in this World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie right-hander.

First baseman Ji-Man Choi is leading off Tuesday night, followed by left fielder Randy Arozarena, designated hitter Austin Meadows and second baseman Brandon Lowe. In Game 2 last Wednesday, when the Rays won 6-4, it went Meadows, Lowe, Arozarena and Choi. The rest of the lineup is the same, right fielder Manuel Margo batting fifth, ahead of third baseman Joey Wendle, shortstop Willy Adames, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and catcher Mike Zunino.

In the leadoff spot this season, Choi is hitting .115 (3 for 26) with one homer and four walks.

Los Angeles has used the same batters in the top six spots for every game of the World Series. Right fielder Mookie Betts is leading off again, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner, first baseman Max Muncy, designated hitter Will Smith and center fielder Cody Bellinger. Second baseman Chris Taylor is batting seventh, left fielder AJ Pollock eighth and catcher Austin Barnes ninth.

___

3:35 p.m.

The Globe Life Field roof will be closed for Game 6 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.

The forecast called for a game-time temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 degrees Celsius) Tuesday night and a chance of rain.

Major League Baseball announced the roof decision about four hours before the scheduled first pitch.

The retractable roof of the new $1.2 billion ballpark was open for Games 1, 2 and 4 and closed for Games 3 and 5.

Los Angeles held a three games to two lead in the Series.

“We hope the roof is closed because it’s freezing,” Kiké Hernández of the Dodgers said shortly before the announcement.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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