Published : 2013-10-02 13:51
Updated : 2013-10-02 13:51
PITTSBURGH -- Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in the team's 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game here on Tuesday.
Choo belted a solo shot off Pirates reliever Tony Watson in the top of the eighth in his first career Major League Baseball playoff game, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Reds, who bowed out in the one-and-done affair on the road at PNC Park. Choo finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
He became the second South Korean position player to appear in an MLB postseason game, after first baseman Choi Hee-seop with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. Two pitchers, Park Chan-ho and Kim Byung-hyun, have previously taken the mound in playoffs.
Choi went hitless in his only postseason at-bat against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 NL Division Series. Choo is the first South Korean player with a hit, a run scored, an RBI and a home run in the big league playoffs.
Choo struck out swinging against the Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano in the top of the first. Choo had been 1-for-12 with three strikeouts against the left-hander during the regular season.
Choo's struggles against southpaws have been well documented; he batted just .215 against them during the regular season, and his homer off Watson was his first against a leftie in 2013.
The 31-year-old was hit by a pitch in the top fourth and came around to score the Reds' first run of the game on a two-out single by Jay Bruce.
Choo hit a weak grounder to Liriano in the sixth, before taking Watson deep over the right field wall in the eighth.
Umpires reviewed the play, as the ball appeared to hit the top of the railing and bounced back into the field, before ruling it a home run.
For the Pirates, Russell Martin hit two solo shots as part of the team's 13 hits. Marlon Byrd also hit a solo homer, and the Reds' starter Johnny Cueto lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, three of them earned, on seven hits and a walk.
Liriano threw seven strong innings for Pittsburgh, holding the Reds to just four hits and a run and striking out five. The Pirates will go on to face the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.
The other NL Division Series will pit the Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves. South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin is expected to start the third game of that series at Dodger Stadium and become the first South Korean to start a big league postseason game.
Choo enjoyed the most productive season of his career in 2013.
He hit 21 home runs and 20 steals for his third-career 20-20 season, and established career-highs with 107 runs scored, 112 walks and a .423 on-base percentage. He was second in the NL in these three categories.
The outfielder is eligible to become a free agent this winter and could be in line for a lucrative multi-year contract. He made $7.37 million this season.(Yonhap News)