One minute he’s summoning the record of Ichiro “Baseball Genius” Suzuki (50), and the next he’s matching the record of Shin-Soo “Choo Choo Train” Choo (41-SSG Rangers).
San Diego Padres’ Kim “Awesome Kim” Ha-seong (28) extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying the record for most consecutive games with a hit by a Korean major leaguer.
Kim hit first and batted second in the lineup against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., on Wednesday.
San Diego’s starting lineup was Ha-Sung Kim (second base), Fernando Tatis Jr. (right field), Juan Soto (left field), Manny Machado (third base), Zander Bogaerts (shortstop), Jake Cronenworth (first base), Ji-Man Choi (designated hitter), Gary Sanchez (catcher), Trent Grisham (center field), and starting pitcher Blake Snell.
In response, Arizona started right-hander Rein Nelson and filled out the batting order with Ketel Marte (second base), Corbin Carroll (center field), Tommy Pham (designated hitter), Christian Walker (first base), Rueredes Gurriel Jr. (left field), Emanuel Rivera (third base), Jake McCarty (right field), Nick Ahmed (shortstop), and Carson Kelly (catcher).
In the top of the first, Kim worked a full count and hit an eight-pitch, 79-mph slider from Nelson, but was denied a run on a foul fly out by the catcher. Tatis Jr. followed with a single up the middle, but Soto hit into a fielder’s choice to end the first inning without a run for San Diego.
Arizona put runners on second and third with back-to-back walks to Marte and Carroll in the bottom of the first and took a 1-0 lead on Walker’s RBI double to center field. San Diego answered in the top of the second with a leadoff walk to Machado and a two-run homer to center field by Bogart to take a 2-1 lead. It was Bogaerts’ 12th home run of the season.
Kim was back at the plate in the top of the third, but this time he grounded out to the third baseman. With runners at 1B and 1S, he hit a three-pitch 82 mph slider, but this time he was not allowed to advance. Still, San Diego did not give up on the scoring hunt. Tatis Jr. singled up the middle and stole second, his 18th stolen base of the season, and Soto followed with an RBI triple to center field to give San Diego a 3-1 lead.
Machado’s RBI single to right made it 4-1, and the Padres loaded the bases with two outs when Bogart grounded out to the second baseman, but Cronenweth blasted a two-run homer to right field to make it 6-1. It was Cronenwirth’s 10th home run of the season.
Kim’s at-bat came again in the top of the fourth inning. Arizona made a pitching change to right-hander Slade Cecconi, who walked leadoff hitter Sanchez on a pitch to the body. With runners on first and second, Kim picked off Cecconi’s first pitch, but his second pitch, a 94-mph four-seam fastball, was flied out to right field and did not produce a hit. Tatis Jr. then struck out swinging as well, leaving San Diego’s top of the fourth inning without a run.
Kim’s fourth at-bat came in the top of the sixth inning. Two batters later, Grisham drew a walk and stole second base, marking his 12th stolen base of the season. With runners in scoring position, Kim lined a single to left off right-hander Luis Frias to give his team a 7-1 lead. It came on a 95-mph four-seam fastball on a 2B-1S count. It was Kim’s 42nd RBI of the season.
The game quickly turned into a back-and-forth affair as Arizona got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on a Marte solo homer to center field and a three-run blast to left-center field in the top of the eighth. San Diego trailed 7-5.
But San Diego had Kim Ha-seong. In the top of the ninth, Kim led off with a double to center field off right-hander Scott McGough. Despite working a 2-2 count, he hit the 84-mph splitter for a double. It was Kim’s 16th double of the season.
Tatis Jr. followed with an RBI double to left, scoring Kim and giving San Diego an 8-5 lead, before Soto’s RBI single to right made it 9-5 and Bogart’s RBI single up the middle gave the Padres a 10-5 lead.
San Diego sealed the 10-5 victory in the bottom of the ninth when Marte’s grounder to shortstop Tom Cosgrove was picked off by second baseman Ha-Sung Kim for the final out.
The two teams are now just one game apart. With the win, San Diego snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 56-60, moving within one game of third-place Arizona (57-59) in the National League West.
Kim, who went 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, and a run scored, raised his season batting average to .290, putting him on pace for a triple. His OPS also increased to .837.
With two more hits in the game, Kim extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying him for the most consecutive games with a hit by a Korean major leaguer in history. Prior to Kim, Shin-Soo Choo had a 16-game hitting streak from July 3, 2013 against the San Francisco Giants to July 23, 2013 against San Francisco when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
It was a season that changed Shin-Soo Choo’s life. In 154 games in 2013, Shin-Soo Choo batted .285 with a .423 on-base percentage, .462 slugging percentage, and .885 OPS, along with 21 home runs, 54 RBIs, and 20 doubles, and led the National League with 26 stolen bases. After a spectacular 2013 season, Shin-Soo Choo became a free agent and hit the “jackpot” with the Texas Rangers, signing a seven-year, $130 million contract, becoming the first Korean major leaguer to sign a $100 million contract.
Kim has been on a 16-game hitting streak since last month’s 25th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his season stats have been stellar with a .290 batting average, .384 on-base percentage, .453 slugging percentage, and .837 OPS, along with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 27 stolen bases. He recently tied Ichiro Ichiro’s 2007 record for the most consecutive games with multiple hits by an Asian big leaguer with a 15-game streak, and now has a chance to set a new record for a Korean major leaguer with consecutive games with a hit.
As expected, the San Diego bats came alive. Bogaerts went 5-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and one run scored, Tatis Jr. went 5-for-3 with a home run, one RBI and two runs scored, Soto went 5-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored, and Cronenwirth went 5-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs and one run scored.
San Diego starter Snell earned his ninth win of the season, allowing two runs on six hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in six innings of work. Snell’s season ERA is 2.63. He was followed by Scott Barlow, Ryker, Steven Wilson and Cosgrove. Arizona starter Nelson suffered his seventh loss of the season (6-1) after allowing six runs on seven hits in three innings. Nelson’s season ERA is now 5.47.
Choi, meanwhile, had a fruitless day at the plate, going 0-for-2. After reaching base with one out in the second inning on a grounder to first base, Choi struck out swinging in the third inning and left the game early in the sixth inning after being replaced by Garrett Cooper. Choi’s batting average dropped to .179 on the season. Choi has yet to record his first hit since joining San Diego. Since joining the team, Choi has gone 1-for-11 with a walk, five strikeouts, and three runs scored. Cooper, who came in as a pinch hitter, also failed to get on base, going 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.메이저놀이터
The series between San Diego and Arizona is far from over. The two teams will face off again on April 13 at 9:10 am. Rich Hill (7-11, 5.09 ERA) will start for San Diego and Zach Gallon (11-5, 3.37 ERA) will start for Arizona.