In this AP photo, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Chase Field in Arizona on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)
Unable to make an early lead stand against the worst club in the National League, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals has now lost three consecutive starts.
Kim was saddled with the loss as the Cardinals fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-2 at Chase Field in Phoenix on Sunday (local time). Kim allowed four runs on a season-worst nine hits. He struck out one and walked one, as he dropped to 1-3 for the year and saw his ERA rise from 3.09 to 3.65.
Kim's only victory of the year came on April 23. He followed that up with three straight no-decisions and has since dropped three consecutive starts, dating back to May 16.
The Diamondbacks snapped their 13-game losing streak. At 19-35, they have the worst record in the Senior Circuit and are ahead only of the Baltimore Orioles in the majors.
The Cardinals staked Kim to a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound, thanks to Dylan Carlson's solo home run in the top of the first.
After Kim pitched around a two-out single in the bottom of the first, the Cardinals opened up a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, thanks to Andrew Knizner's RBI double.
But Kim gave one right back in the bottom of the inning, against the bottom of the Diamondbacks' order.
He gave up a two-out triple to No. 7 hitter Nick Ahmed. Then with the opposing pitcher, Matt Peacock, on deck, Kim served up an RBI single to Tim Locastro that cut the Cardinals' lead to 2-1.
And that lead evaporated in the bottom of the third, when Kim allowed a solo home run to Ketel Marte on a changeup over the heart of the plate.
The Diamondbacks put two more runners aboard with a single and an error, before Kim put out the fire with a 6-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Christian Walker.
Kim gave up a double and a single to begin the fourth inning. He got his first strikeout of the game on Locastro but then Peacock reached on a fielder's choice after a groundball to second base.
A walk to Josh Rojas loaded the bases for Marte, who picked up two more RBIs with a single to left.
Kim got through the fifth inning unscathed, save for a two-out single, and Tyler Webb relieved him to begin the sixth inning, with the Cardinals trailing 4-2.
The Diamondbacks erupted for five runs in that inning en route to an easy victory. It was their first win since May 15.
This was Kim's eighth start of 2021, and he has yet to complete six innings. Of Kim's 92 pitches, 63 went for strikes.
Kim came into this game ranked fifth in the majors with a .100 opponent batting average with runners in scoring position, having allowed only three hits in 30 at-bats in those situations. The Diamondbacks, though, went 3-for-7 with men in scoring position in this game. (Yonhap)