Hyun Soo Kim on pinch-hit homer and other clubhouse quotes

TORONTO - Maybe it is too dramatic to say the Orioles’ season hung in the balance. But maybe it is not. What happens over the next four games and throughout October may truly tell us how huge their 3-2 win over the Blue Jays was at Rogers Centre tonight.

Just when it looked like the struggling Orioles offense would fall short in a key game yet again, it had just enough tonight.

Down 2-0 heading to the top of the eighth, Mark Trumbo slugged a solo homer. It was No. 46 on the year and came off reliever Jason Grilli making it a 2-1 deficit.

Against Toronto closer Roberto Osuna in the ninth, Hyun Soo Kim came up as a pinch-hitter with one out and Michael Bourn pinch-running for Jonathan Schoop, who had singled. Kim worked Osuna for a nine-pitch at-bat, during which Bourn stole second. A single would likely tie the game.

Hyun-Soo-Kim-fives-Zach-Britton-gray-sidebar.jpgKim did better than that.

His two-run homer to right on a 3-2 pitch provided the Orioles a stunning 3-2 lead. Three outs later Zach Britton had recorded his 47th save and the Orioles would retain - at least through tonight - sole possession of the second American League wild card. They can tie Toronto for the top wild card spot if they win Thursday night. Detroit’s win tonight keeps the Tigers one game back of the Orioles for the second wild card berth.

Kim ranked it as the No. 1 homer of his pro career, but he certainly didn’t brag for that huge blast.

“When I was up at bat, I expected Michael Bourn to steal to second,” Kim said through interpreter Danny Lee. “I tried to hit the ball after that, after he stole the base, I tried to hit as accurately as possible so I could bring in Michael. It just happened to be a homer.

“There’s always ups and downs in baseball. We have been through that all year, so this is not that big of a deal. I don’t think I’m the only one who contributed to the win. Every member of the team has done so much so we can win tonight. I don’t want to take too much credit I just want to continue this the rest of the season.”

As a pinch-hitter, Kim has remarkable numbers. He is now 6-for-9 with a double, homer, two RBIs and an OPS of 1.838.

“It’s hard to describe, it’s such a good feeling,” Kim said simply of his home run.

It took a lot of contributions to produce this important win. From Chris Tillman holding Toronto to two runs over 5 2/3 to a bullpen pitching 3 1/3 scoreless from Donnie Hart, Mychal Givens, Brian Duensing and Britton. Nolan Reimold made two tough outfield catches and Schoop had two hits to break an 0-for-22 run. His single in the ninth set the stage for Kim’s heroics.

The Orioles snapped a five-game AL East losing streak and won for just the third time in nine games this year at Rogers Centre.

Here are more clubhouse quotes:

Manager Buck Showalter on the win: “That was fun. That was what we signed up for right? It starts with Tilly. We gave them a couple of things early, uncharacteristically. Chris kind of shut it after that. He was wild in the strike zone tonight, but he kind of found his way a little bit. That is a tough lineup to hold in check. Jonathan has had his scuffles lately, to stick his nose in there and stick a ball into right field (for the single in the ninth), shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Showalter on the Orioles being so resilient this year: “It’s been a while, not just this year. It’s been going on for awhile. We’re just proud to ... I know our city and our organization are proud of that type of baseball. We’re trying to continue to play it, just like Toronto has. You have two good clubs competing at a high level and there is a small margin for error.”

Trumbo on Kim: “I think that’s what it’s all about. I think everyone in the dugout was going nuts. Obviously, that was a really hard-fought win, but especially to be him. That was great. This is a very tough place to play. The fans, they’re always giving it to you and they’re very passionate. Sometimes it’s tough to get something going, but a moment like that, that was big for us.”

Trumbo on O’s being resilient: “You come this far. What’s the point of not giving it everything we’ve got? I think we have a lot of faith. We have a lot of guys with experience in here and I think that plays pretty big. (We have) guys that have been here before and gotten the job done and have faith that they can do it again.”

Tillman on Kim and big win: “Couldn’t happen to someone better. It was priceless, him coming in the dugout with a big smile on his face. Not a better guy for that to happen to. It was big. I think that could push a team a long way in wins. It was a big team win and I think everyone played a part in it.”

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