Tampa Bay Rays' Choi Ji-man watched as his club got pushed to the brink in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The South Korean first baseman was summoned for a pinch-hitting duty in the bottom eighth, only to be pulled back immediately against a new reliever, as the Rays fell to the Dodgers 4-2 in Game 5 of the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday (local time).
The Dodgers lead the series 3-2 and can capture their first championship in 32 years in Game 6. It will be 7:08 p.m. Tuesday in Arlington, and 9:08 a.m. Wednesday in South Korea. All games of the best-of-seven series are being played at Globe Life Field, as Major League Baseball sought to eliminate traveling for clubs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Choi began his second straight game, and third game of the World Series, on the bench against a left-handed starter. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers, right-handed Yandy Diaz got the start at first base for the Rays and batted in the leadoff spot.
Kershaw pitched 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball before handing the reins over to right-hander Dustin May.
Diaz's spot came up third in the bottom eighth, with one out and a runner at first. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash called Choi's number to pinch hit for Diaz against May. Dodgers' skipper Dave Roberts countered by replacing May with lefty Victor Gonzalez. Then right-handed batter Mike Brosseau took Choi's spot.
Brosseau drew a walk, but the Rays failed to score from that rally.
Choi is batting 1-for-7 with three runs scored and two walks in the World Series. He's the first South Korean position player to appear in a World Series game.
The Dodgers are expected to start right-hander Tony Gonsolin in Game 6. Choi started against Gonsolin in Game 2 and struck out in his only plate appearance against him then. (Yonhap)