‘First Asian infielder to see 20-20’ Kim Ha-seong 13-14 with multi-homer+3 RBI one-hitter…SD loses 4-8 to PiT

Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) is on track to become the first Asian infielder to reach the milestone.

On May 25 (KST), Kim dazzled at the 먹튀검증 plate against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, starting at first base and batting third, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs, two runs scored, and one walk. His season batting average rose from 0.267 to 0.270, and his OPS jumped from 0.784 to 0.810.

Kim’s bat exploded in his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning. Leading off with a 2-1 count against Pittsburgh starter Quinn Priester, Kim smashed a four-pitch 92.8-mile-per-hour fastball over the left-center field fence for a leadoff solo shot. It was his 13th home run of the season and third leadoff homer of his big league career.

After leading off the bottom of the second inning with San Diego trailing 1-3, Kim was forced to retire on a grounder to shortstop after a full count of six pitches. But in his third at-bat, he was hot again.

Trailing 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Kim faced an 0-2 pitch count against Frister, but he swung at a four-pitch slider that he didn’t miss. Pittsburgh left fielder Brian Reynolds chased the pitch down and made a jumping catch, but the ball sailed over the fence for a two-run home run. It was Kim’s 14th home run of the season and his first multi-homer game in the big leagues.

Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh and facing a bases-loaded situation, Kim made his fourth at-bat and used his signature eye for the ball to draw a six-pitch walk to complete the three-run game. After Fernando Tatis Jr. walked, Kim stole second, but was thrown out at second base by Pittsburgh catcher Endy Rodriguez for his fifth stolen base of the season.

Despite Kim’s near-one-man show, the Pirates fell to 4-8 as starting pitcher Darvish Yu was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh’s other “Korean major leaguer,” Choi Man-ji, unfortunately missed his third straight game.

Through 96 games, Kim is batting .270 with 14 home runs, 37 RBIs, 18 doubles and an OPS of .810. At this rate, he’s not far from becoming the first Asian infielder to reach 20 home runs and 20 doubles. He needs just two more stolen bases to reach the 20-steal plateau. With 61 games left in the season, San Diego is arithmetically on pace for about 22 homers at this rate. After hitting nine homers in 76 games through June, Kim is on pace for five in July alone, raising hopes of joining the 20-20 club.

Only two other major leaguers from Asia have joined the 20-20 club, Shin-Soo Choo (SSG Rangers) and Shohei Oh (LA Angels). Oh did it once in 2021 (46 homers and 26 doubles), while Choo has done it three times (20 homers and 21 doubles in 2009, 22 homers and 22 doubles in 2010, and 21 homers and 20 doubles in 2013). If Kim reaches 20-20, he will be the first Korean major leaguer to do so in a decade and the first Asian “infielder” to do so. With his offense and defense in full bloom in his third year in the big leagues, it will be interesting to see what he can do this season.

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