Baseball fans are lost for words after it emerged that a player from the Los Angeles Dodgers received results of a positive COVID-19 test deep into the decisive Game 6.
The Dodgers ended a 32-year championship drought with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6.
LIFE-THREATENING': Urgent warning over big grand final issue
However, focus quickly turned to LA mainstay Justin Turner who was pulled from the contest in the eighth inning after testing positive for COVID-19.
At the time nobody knew why Turner had left the game, but he wasn’t on the field to celebrate with his teammates after the final out.
Fox Sports broke the news shortly afterwards the Dodgers sealed the win, with LA confirming that Turner was immediately sent into isolation after learning of the positive result, so as to prevent potential spread.
It begged the obvious question of how on earth he was cleared to play in the first place, with fans on social media mystified by the crazy turn of events.
"After the completion of the game tonight, we were informed by MLB that Justin Turner received a positive COVID test and that's why he was removed from the game." pic.twitter.com/EOxcMlNs5R
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 28, 2020
Hope it’s a false positive,, they’re supposed to be in the bubble though so how did he test positive????
— R.I.P Eddie Van Halen (@nyy_lol) October 28, 2020
how does he test positive in the 9th inning? shouldn't that have been known before the start of the game? he had 9 innings to infect people.
— Ever (@Ever_Truly) October 28, 2020
— Kara Conklin (@karaconklin) October 28, 2020
My question is how do they not know before the game ???
— Adam Detwiler (@adam_detwiler) October 28, 2020
How the hell does a player test positive in the 8th inning???
— Joey C (@WittyMcWittle) October 28, 2020
How doesn’t he hear until midway through a game?
— Seth Engelken (@ENGI2216) October 28, 2020
Something isn’t right with this
— Joey C (@WittyMcWittle) October 28, 2020
Did they know he was positive before the game, what? This is just insane, I don't understand.
— GreenSquare (@Kameron841) October 28, 2020
This is unacceptable. He should have be told prior to the game. He shouldn’t have been allowed to play. Makes me think someone was holding the results to get him in the line up????
— Brandon (@AlidoBrandon) October 28, 2020
Turner tweeted afterwards the say that he felt fine and insisted that he wasn't showing any symptoms.
Incredibly, he was later seen back out on the field shaking hands, hugging teammates and joining in the celebrations, despite the positive test.
Players are tested daily inside baseball's postseason bubble, with no player testing positive for coronavirus in that time - making Turner's case even more strange.
Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA#WorldSeriesChamps
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) October 28, 2020
Dodgers end long title drought
The Dodgers were the best homer-hitting team in a regular season that was shortened to 60 games as a concession to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they got inventive on offence to earn their deciding victory.
In their 16th consecutive game at the Texas Rangers' new Globe Life Field, the Dodgers turned a wild pitch and a fielder's choice into run-scoring gold in the fifth inning.
The runs gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers also used seven pitchers, including starter Tony Gonsolin, who was pulled after 1 2/3 innings.
Left-hander Julio Urias was the last of those arms, striking out Willy Adames looking to end it while pitching with 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save. Lefty Victor Gonzalez (1-0) threw 1 1/3 shutout innings to earn the victory.
— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2020
Rays starter Blake Snell was in the midst of the most impressive start of his career. He struck out nine and gave up just two harmless singles the first two times through the Dodgers order.
However, with one out in the sixth inning, following a single by Dodgers No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes, Rays manager Kevin Cash went to his bullpen to protect a 1-0 lead, putting right-hander Nick Anderson (1-1) into the game. After striking out twice against Snell, Mookie Betts hit a double to put runners on second and third.
Barnes scored on an Anderson wild pitch to tie the game, with Betts moving to third. Corey Seager, who also fanned twice against Snell, then hit a ground ball to first with Betts scoring on a dive just ahead of the throw home for a 2-1 advantage.
"I'm not exactly sure why, I'm not asking any questions, but he was pitching a great game," Betts said of the Rays' decision to lift Snell.
"(Barnes) led off with a hit, I think, right there. We had a chance to do something, but they made a pitching change, and it seemed like that's all we needed."
The exclamation point came in the eighth when Betts, the Dodgers' high-profile roster addition in the offseason after a trade with the Boston Red Sox, hit a home run for a 3-1 advantage. It was his second homer of the series.
The Dodgers' most recent title came in 1988, when a hobbled Kirk Gibson hit a walk-off homer to beat the Oakland Athletics in Game 1. Los Angeles went on to win the series in five games.
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