(ATTN: UPDATES with Game 2 starter in para 5)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) — Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays came off the bench but never got to bat in his club’s World Series-opening loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Rays dropped the first game of the best-of-seven series 8-3 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday (local time).
The left-handed batting Choi was benched at the start of the game against the Dodgers’ lefty starter Clayton Kershaw. Yandy Diaz, who bats right-handed, played first base and batted leadoff, and another righty, Hunter Renfroe, batted in the cleanup spot that Choi had mostly occupied in the earlier rounds.
In the top of the seventh, with the Rays trailing 8-1 and with runners at second and third, Choi was announced as the pinch hitter for Willy Adames against the right-handed reliever Dylan Floro. The Dodgers countered that move by bringing in left-hander Victor Gonzalez, and the Rays immediately replaced Choi with the right-handed Mike Brosseau.
Choi is the first South Korean position player to reach the World Series but will have to wait at least until Game 2 to make his first plate appearance. The Dodgers have named right-hander Tony Gonsolin as their Game 2 starter. He allowed seven runs in 6 1/3 innings in two appearances against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
All games will be played at Globe Life Field, as Major League Baseball seeks to reduce travel for the teams during the coronavirus pandemic. The second game will start at 7:07 p.m. Wednesday (local time), or 9:07 a.m. Thursday in South Korea.