Hyun Soo Kim is 6-for-9 as a pinch-hitter this season and fans still want him in the lineup. Makes no sense.
But seriously ...
Kim may have saved the Orioles’ season tonight when he came off the bench in the ninth inning and hit a two-run homer off Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna to give them a 3-2 win at Rogers Centre.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy was called out on strikes to lead off the inning, but slumping second baseman Jonathan Schoop poked a single into right field. Schoop had two hits tonight after entering the game in an 0-for-22 slump.
Kim stepped to the plate for Nolan Reimold, with manager Buck Showalter playing the percentages and bringing up a left-handed bat against Osuna. Kim sat against Jays starter Francisco Liriano, reduced to tossing sunflower seeds after Mark Trumbo’s homer in the eighth.
The beauty of Kim was on full display. He worked Osuna for nine pitches - count them, nine pitches - including three straight foul balls with the count 2-2.
Kim fought off two 97 mph fastballs and an 82 mph changeup, the latter causing him to spin out of the box, smile and stick out his tongue as if relieved that he had another chance. He took a slider in the dirt and then launched a 96 mph fastball that landed in the visiting bullpen.
So much for Kim not being able to hit a major league heater. That one counted and he got around on it.
Zach Britton retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth with two strikeouts for his 47th save. His ERA is down to 0.55.
The Orioles again are one game behind the Jays for the top wild card spot. The Tigers seemed poised to tie them for the second wild card after taking a 6-3 lead over the Indians in the fifth inning, but they went into a rain delay around the same time that Kim brought the thunder.
Off the bench again.
Maybe he’ll get in the lineup Thursday night.