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Why yes, Randy Arozarena homered again

@KeeganMatheson and @AJCassavell
October 16, 2020

Randy Arozarena -- the hard-hitting, sweet-swinging, dance-battling star of the 2020 postseason -- just keeps adding to his October legend.

Randy Arozarena -- the hard-hitting, sweet-swinging, dance-battling star of the 2020 postseason -- just keeps adding to his October legend.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11 TB 2, HOU 1 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 12 TB 4, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 13 TB 5, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 14 HOU 4, TB 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 15 HOU 4, TB 3 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 16 HOU 7, TB 4 Watch
Gm 7 Oct. 17 TB 4, HOU 2 Watch

During the Rays' 4-3 loss in Thursday's Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Arozarena launched his sixth home run of the playoffs, tying him with Evan Longoria (2008) for the most big flies by a rookie in postseason history. The Rays’ left fielder went with a knee-high fastball from Astros reliever Enoli Paredes and sent it a projected 406 feet to the opposite field. He’s now just two hits shy of tying Derek Jeter’s postseason record of 22 by a rookie, set in 1996.

Just like Arozarena's home run in Game 4, though, it wasn’t enough. Brandon Lowe and Ji-Man Choi added solo home runs of their own, but that amounted to the Rays’ offense in the walk-off defeat, and they’ll need to find some new ways to create runs in Game 6 on Friday with a trip to the World Series once again dangling in front of them.

Choi's HR jolts TB: 'We always bounce back'

Make no mistake, though. While Arozarena could use a little help from his friends, he’s still the engine that is powering this lineup forward.

“Randy just continues to do what he does,” said Kevin Cash, who has worn out his thesaurus lately trying to describe Arozarena’s incredible run.

After the game, both Cash and Kevin Kiermaier pointed to Arozarena’s performance as an example that the rest of this lineup can follow as Tampa Bay looks to close out the series. Lowe’s homer broke him out of a long postseason slump, and it was a sign that the top of the order can start to create more RBI opportunities for the big bats, but Arozarena has been doing a fine job of driving in himself lately.

And it’s not just Arozarena’s bat. He can play defense, too. With one out in the sixth, Jose Altuve sent a rocket off the third-base bag and into left field. He tried to stretch it into a double, but Arozarena delivered a perfect one-hop strike, and second baseman Lowe was there to apply the tag.

A little-known 25-year-old rookie acquired in a trade with St. Louis last offseason, Arozarena is making a huge name for himself this month. He finished the regular season strong after missing six weeks while on the COVID-19 injured list. But he’s taken his game to another level in October.

Impressed now? Arozarena once hit an infield triple

Arozarena is now hitting .417 in 12 games, and his 10 extra-base hits are the most for a Tampa Bay player in a single postseason. He surpassed Longoria and B.J. Upton for that mark with his opposite-field blast.

The way Arozarena is swinging right now, he’s probably not done.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @KeeganMatheson.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.