BALTIMORE -- As Spring Training wound to a close, it didn't look like Hyun Soo Kim would be a member of the Orioles let alone participating in a June rally that helped the O's regain a share of first place in the American League East. But in Friday's 6-5 win
BALTIMORE -- As Spring Training wound to a close, it didn't look like Hyun Soo Kim would be a member of the Orioles let alone participating in a June rally that helped the O's regain a share of first place in the American League East. But in Friday's 6-5 win over the Yankees, Kim's 3-for-4 night was instrumental to Baltimore's success.
With the game knotted at 5 in the seventh inning and Adam Jones on first, Kim came to the plate against hard-throwing reliever Dellin Betances. He had talked to hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh before his at-bat, and Coolbaugh told him he couldn't fall behind. So he needed to jump on either a curveball or a fastball. Kim decided he'd look for a fastball.
Kim sent a 1-0 fastball into center field for his third single that allowed Jones to advance to third with no outs. One batter later, Jones scored the game-winning run on Manny Machado's groundout.
"I think everybody in the clubhouse feels really good for [Kim]," manager Buck Showalter said. "You think about a lot of the, you can call it national pressure back home that was on him, because there are a lot of guys that would like to come over here and play."
The former Korea Baseball Organization outfielder was a part of the O's big sixth inning, too. Kim led off the frame with a single and came around to score the first of three runs in the game-tying inning.
After going 8-for-45 in Spring Training, including an 0-for-23 stretch at one point, Kim has now started nine of the past 10 games. And in 17 starts this season, the 28-year-old, now batting .391, has recorded at least two hits in seven of those contests.
"He's staying short, not trying to get very big and taking what they give him," Showalter said. "He's handling a lot of pitches and not missing the pitches that he can handle. ... He's been right in the middle of just about everything for us, it seems."
Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.