In this Getty Images photo, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
It wasn't the kind of personal record he wanted to break, but Kim Kwang-hyun, the South Korean left-hander for the St. Louis Cardinals, went a career-high 10 starts between victories this year.
Kim earned his first win of 2021 on April 23 in his second start of the campaign. Then win No. 2 came against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday (local time), his 13th start of 2021.
Kim held the Diamondbacks to a run on three hits -- all singles -- and three walks in five innings, as the Cardinals prevailed 7-4.
Kim is now 2-5 with a 3.79 ERA.
"In the past, I never went more than six or seven starts between victories. I set my personal record this year," Kim said with a smile in his postgame Zoom session. "I kept thinking, 'Maybe I'll win the next time out.' But it went on and on. I wanted to minimize the damage and focus on each hitter today. I think my desperation brought me some good luck."
Though Kim only gave up one run, he only pitched five innings, as his pitch count sat at 96.
"I didn't have a great fastball command," Kim conceded. "I tried not to give up any runs. I nibbled at the corners and ended up with a lot of balls. I need to improve my command."
Kim helped himself by driving in the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the second. With two runners aboard, Kim drove a sinker from starter Riley Smith and put it just shy of the warning track in left. These were Kim's first big league RBIs, and the double was his first-ever extra-base hit.
"The left fielder (Josh Rojas) was playing shallow, and so I was lucky to get that hit," Kim said. "I practiced with a lighter bat, and it worked out."
The ball traveled at 98.9 mph off Kim's bat. Only Eduardo Escobar hit the ball harder off Kim for the Diamondbacks, as his fifth-inning flyout had an exit velocity of 101 mph.
Kim celebrated his double with a bowing ceremony with fellow starter Adam Wainwright, a solid hitter himself.
"During batting practice, I asked him when he's going to hit a home run," Kim said of the veteran right-hander with 10 career homers but only a .034 batting average (1-for-16) this year. "Tomorrow, he'll start at Coors Field, which is a hitter-friendly park. I hope he'll get his first home run of the season so we can do the bow again. (Yonhap)