By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays and Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals both got the starting nods for their wild-card games, which took place Thursday morning (South Korean time), the first time in major league postseason history that two South Korean starting pitchers were on the mound on the same day. It also happened to be Chuseok, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, but those who got up early to see the two left-handers didn't have much to be thankful for.
With his start beginning just past 5 a.m., Ryu was rocked for seven runs on eight hits in just 1 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the American League (AL) wild-card series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ryu served up two home runs, including a grand slam by Hunter Renfroe in the second inning that knocked the left-hander out of the game. The Jays lost 8-2 and were eliminated from the best-of-three series.
Over in the National League (NL), Kim got the Game 1 assignment against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego. His game began a bit after 6 a.m., and Ryu was already out of the game before Kim even threw his first pitch.
The Cardinals gave Kim a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but Kim didn't pitch long enough to qualify for a win. He gave up three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings and was lifted with the Cardinals up 6-3. Kim got a no-decision in a 7-4 win for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals will advance to the NL Division Series with another win over the Padres back at Petco Park on Thursday (local time).
At least one South Korean is in the Division Series, on the AL side. The Rays' infielder Choi Ji-man came off the bench in each of the two victories for his team, going 0-for-3 at the plate. The left-handed hitting Choi didn't face Ryu in Game 2, but he'll get to play in his second straight ALDS. The Rays will face the winner of another wild-card series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.
Choi batted 3-for-15 with a home run in the 2019 ALDS against the Houston Astros.
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