토스카지노 Kim Ha-seong (27, San Diego Padres) made his presence felt on both sides of the ball.
Kim went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs as the Padres batted first and third against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, on April 19 (ET). His batting average remained at .281 for the season. His OPS dropped from 0.813 to 0.810.
San Diego’s lineup was Ha-Sung Kim (third base), Fernando Tatis Jr. (right field), Juan Soto (left field), Manny Machado (designated hitter), Zander Bogaerts (shortstop), Jake Cronenweth (second base), Gary Sanchez (catcher), Garrett Cooper (first base), and Trent Grisham (center field). The starting pitcher is Seth Lugo.
The visiting Arizona lineup is Corbin Carroll (right field), Ketel Marte (second base), Tommy Pham (left field), Christian Walker (first base), Rueredes Gurriel Jr. (designated hitter), Jayson Peterson (third base), Alex Thomas (center field), Moreno (catcher), and Heraldo Perdomo (shortstop). The starting pitcher was Braden Pott.
In his first at-bat, Kim managed to get on base. Luck was on his side. In the bottom of the first inning, Kim hit an 84.6-mph sweeper on a five-seam fastball in front of the shortstop, but Heraldo Perdomo’s throw was high enough to keep Kim at first base.
The second at-bat was a disappointment. Leading off the bottom of the fourth inning, Kim lifted a low 83.3-mph sweeper on the fourth pitch of the at-bat, but it didn’t go far. It flew into the left-field seats.
With the score still tied at 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kim swung at a five-pitch 81.3-mph curveball from Pott, but this time it was short. He flied out to shortstop.
Kim Ha-seong./Getty Images Korea
But Kim’s presence shined later in the game. First, on defense. With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, he quickly rushed Perdomo’s sacrifice bunt and threw to second to cut down the lead runner. Scott Barlow got the next batter to pop out to end the inning.
Then San Diego rallied. In the bottom of the seventh, Soto led off with a double, putting runners in scoring position for the first time all night. Machado walked and Bogart struck out to put runners on first and second. Cronenwirth fielded it well, but was unable to score as he was caught in the left field corner.
The highlight came in the eighth inning. Sanchez led off with a walk. Pinch-hitter Ben Gamel then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but an error by the first baseman allowed both runners to reach. Grisham followed with a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second and third. That’s where Kim came in. Petco Park was heating up. He worked an 0-2 count against Miguel Castro, but took a three-pitch 83.6 mph slider for a two-run double. Tatis Jr. followed with a two-run shot to put the game out of reach. The score was 4-0.
Lugo pitched six innings of five-hit ball with three walks and nine strikeouts, but the silence at the plate prevented him from getting the win. His season ERA is now 3.92.
Prior to the game, Kim was ranked fifth in this year’s Major League Baseball MVP race, as measured by ESPN’s Award Index (AXE), a ranking program developed by the American sports media company. For the second day in a row, he played perfect defense at third base and hit the game-winning hit.
At this rate, he could surpass Shin-Soo Choo (40-SSG) to become the first Korean to win MVP voting. Shin-soo Choo previously finished 14th in the American League (AL) MVP voting with nine points in 2010 with Cleveland and 12th in the NL MVP voting with 23 points in 2013 with Cincinnati.
Ha Sung Kim/Getty Images Korea
Ha Sung Kim/Getty Images Korea