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Rays' Choi Ji-man stays hot with two-run homer

2018/09/13 07:18

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SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- Tampa Bay Rays' South Korean hitter Choi Ji-man has gone deep again.

Choi belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning to help the Rays get past the Cleveland Indians 3-1 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Wednesday (local time). It was Choi's ninth long ball of the year and seventh in 39 games in a Tampa Bay uniform since getting promoted from Triple-A in July.

It was also Choi's third home run in his last five games, and all three of those taters came with men on base.

Batting cleanup as designated hitter, Choi came up in the bottom of the first with two outs and a man at first. He jumped on a first-pitch two-seamer by starter Carlos Carrasco and drove it over the center field wall.

That gave Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell an early 2-0 lead, and that turned out to be all the run support he needed. The lefty no-hit the Indians through six innings and ended up giving up just one run on one hit -- a solo shot by Jose Ramirez to lead off the seventh -- while striking out nine in seven innings. Snell picked up his major league-best 19th win and lowered his ERA to an American League-best 2.03.

Choi went 2-for-4 for the day.

Choi began the season with the Brewers but spent the majority of his time in Triple-A, before getting traded to the Rays on June 10. He stayed in the minors until the Rays called him up on July 11, and Choi has batted .290/.379/.550 with seven homers, 24 RBIs and 18 walks in 39 games since.

Choi has now reached base safely in 22 consecutive starts and has been slashing .333/.424/.679 during that stretch.

In this Getty Images photo, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays (L) is congratulated by his third base coach Matt Quatraro after hitting a two-run home run against the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sept. 12, 2018. (Yonhap) In this Getty Images photo, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays (L) is congratulated by his third base coach Matt Quatraro after hitting a two-run home run against the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sept. 12, 2018. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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