Choi puts Rangers in check with clutch 2B

Rays win in 11th after Cash is ejected for arguing strike call during decisive AB

June 2nd, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Ji-Man Choi got his revenge.

He didn’t rob a home run and he didn't hit one either, but his RBI double in the 11th inning -- just a few pitches after manager Kevin Cash was ejected -- led the Rays to a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night at Globe Life Field.

Choi wasn’t fired up in that situation trying to make up for the home run he was robbed of on Monday, he said through interpreter Daniel Park. That’s in the past. He was fired up because Cash stood up for him on a call, and got ejected for it.

“That [gave] me a little more motivation,” Choi said. “I think it was a very good gesture from [Cash] because him doing that for me just shows that he really supports the team and myself, too.”

Cash was run from the game by home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza for arguing a check-swing call on Choi.

“I just didn’t agree with the check swing. It’s a big at-bat right there, it’s a big pitch,” Cash said. “They’re tough calls, there’s no denying that, just felt like there could have been a look or an ask down the third-base line.”

Three pitches later, Choi doubled on a line drive to right field, driving in Harold Ramirez for the winning run. Matt Wisler then sealed it with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th.

“We’ve seen over time now that these extra-inning games are generally not won by just getting one run,” Cash said. “But fortunately for us, it worked in our favor tonight. Wisler came in and kind of shut the door down.”

A total of seven pitchers took the mound for the Rays. Colin Poche picked up the win and J.P. Feyereisen’s ERA still remains at 0.00. Tampa Bay struck out a combined 15 batters, including seven from starter Jeffrey Springs and five from Jalen Beeks.

“This bullpen is great,” Wisler said. “I think we got all the most underrated guys in the league, and what these guys have done this year and as a staff is pretty impressive.”

Offensively, the Rays struggled as some key hits didn’t come until late in the game. With two of the team’s best hitters out of the lineup -- Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe -- shortstop Taylor Walls had emphasized on Tuesday that someone needed to step up. On Wednesday, a number of players did just that.

After the Rangers retired 30 consecutive batters between Tuesday’s shutout loss and the third inning on Wednesday, it was second baseman Vidal Brújan, who broke the streak with a single up the middle. He later logged a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th, but the Rangers answered with Adolis García’s RBI single in the bottom half.

Then, with Tampa Bay facing 18 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball, Randy Arozarena launched a solo homer in the seventh inning for the Rays’ first run since Monday’s series opener. The following frame, Ramirez tied the score at 2 with a pinch-hit RBI single.

“We have scuffled and, you know, [Rangers starter Jon] Gray was really good again early in the ballgame, even mid-to-late, we couldn’t get anything going. But I like the way the guys stayed at it,” Cash said. “It’s very easy to get frustrated and kind of get consumed in that frustration and not do anything, but we were able to scratch and claw for two runs. And then you put it in extra innings and it turns into anyone’s ballgame.”