SPORTS

Orioles' Kim Hyun-soo gets 1st hit off left-hander this season

By a2017001
  • Published : Apr 24, 2017 - 10:15
  • Updated : Apr 24, 2017 - 10:15

Kim Hyun-soo of the Baltimore Orioles finally has a hit off a left-hander in the majors.

Kim had an infield single off southpaw reliever Fernando Abad of the Boston Red Sox in the bottom ninth of their game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday (local time). The O's ended up losing 6-2.

This was Kim's first plate appearance against a left-hander.

Kim Hyun-soo of the Baltimore Orioles looks toward the field after striking out against the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Yonhap)

Manager Buck Showalter had been benching the left-handed outfielder against left-handed pitchers all season, limiting him to five starts and nine games overall in the Orioles' first 17 games.

Last year, his first season in the bigs, Kim was 0-for-18 against left-handers with four walks.

With the Red Sox starting lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, Showalter again left Kim on the bench to begin the game.

Kim then pinch-hit for left fielder Craig Gentry to lead off the eighth, with the Orioles trailing 6-0, and grounded out to short off right-hander Matt Barnes.

The Sox had Abad to start the ninth inning with a 6-1 lead.

Then with two outs and a runner at third, Kim remained in the game to face the left-hander.

He swung on the first pitch and sent it to shallow left field for an infield single, driving in Welington Castillo from third.

Showalter has come under fire for his use, or lack thereof, of Kim, who posted a .382 on-base percentage in 346 plate appearances last year on a team of mostly free swingers. It was the highest on-base percentage on the Orioles and eighth-best in the American League among players with at least 300 plate appearances.

Kim, called the "Hitting Machine" in his Korea Baseball Organization days, batted .310 in 2013, .374 in 2014 and .333 in 2015 against left-handers, his three most recent seasons before joining the Orioles. (Yonhap)