Through all the struggles, all the moments when it looked like he should be dropped down in the lineup or out of it altogether, Brandon Lowe believed.
He had built himself into one of the American League’s best hitters, and no slump — not even one during the playoffs — could derail that. The Tampa Bay Rays kept believing in Lowe too. In Game 2 of the World Series, both were rewarded handsomely for their faith.
Lowe became the first player to hit two opposite-field home runs in a World Series game, and the Rays’ bullpen bent but didn’t break as they held on for a 6-4 victory Wednesday night to even the series at one game apiece.
“Yeah, those felt really good,” Lowe said. “It felt great to kind of get back and contribute to the team. They’ve been doing so well for the past month. It felt really good to get back and actually start doing stuff again.”
The 26-year-old Lowe, an All-Star in 2019 as a rookie and a down-ballot MVP candidate this year, had endured a brutal postseason: 6-for-56 with 19 strikeouts and not one multihit game among the 15 the Rays had played. Yet Tampa Bay never wavered — Lowe sat only one game and pinch hit in it — in its confidence that Lowe would find his swing.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, who said before Game 2 that the team would “stick with guys we have a lot of faith in,” explained why the team believes in Lowe.
“The biggest reason that makes us all believe it is he’s shown over time that he’s a really good hitter, really good player, and sometimes guys, you got to let them go through some tough patches, and he’s been in one,” Cash said after Wednesday’s win. “It was exciting for the first home run. The second one really ignited them. You’ve seen it. You’ve covered him. He can go quiet for a little while, but he can get as hot as anybody in baseball. Hopefully, that’s the trend that we’re looking at going forward.”
Lowe, after all, had figured out how to leverage his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame into one of the great power swings in the American League. With extra time spent analyzing video and recognizing flaws in his swing, he corrected it and saw the dividends early in Game 2.
Hitting in the No. 2 hole, he punished a 95 mph fastball from rookie starter Tony Gonsolin to left field in the first inning, giving the Rays an early advantage. He piled on with a two-run shot off rookie Dustin May in the fifth inning, pushing the Rays’ advantage to 5-0.
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