Comfortable at plate, Park notches 1st hit

Comfortable at plate, Park notches 1st hit

BALTIMORE -- After striking out looking on five pitches in his first career Major League at-bat, Twins designated hitter Byung Ho Park vowed to be more aggressive his next time up.

That at-bat didn't come until nearly two hours later, however, after a lengthy rain delay, but Park stuck to his plan and ripped a single into center field on a 1-1 fastball from Orioles reliever Tyler Wilson. It was the first hit of Park's career, and he became the first player from Korea to get a hit in a Twins uniform. Park, a two-time MVP in the Korean Baseball Organization, ended up going 1-for-3 with a hit by a pitch and a run scored in a 3-2 walk-off loss at Camden Yards.

"It's surprising I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "I was comfortable out there from the get-go. Because I felt comfortable, I wanted to be more aggressive. Fortunately, I was able to get a hit in my second at-bat. So hopefully I make progress, but that was a good feeling."

Park, who hit a combined 105 homers over his last two seasons with Nexen in Korea, will be counted in for his power this season and batted sixth in his debut. Park helped spark a two-run rally in the seventh, when he was hit by a slider from reliever Mychal Givens and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly down the left-field line hit by Kurt Suzuki. The Orioles appealed the play, saying Park took off early, but it was denied by home-plate umpire Mike Winters.

"I wasn't concerned about them reviewing the situation, because I took off after they caught it," Park said. "I wasn't worried at all."

In Park's final at-bat in the ninth, he faced closer Zach Britton and worked a seven-pitch at-bat, only to ground out to shortstop for the inning's first out. Twins manager Paul Molitor still liked what he saw from Park, and he was happy to see him get his first hit out of the way.

"The first at-bat like a lot of our guys, he was overpowered, but he came back with a base hit and got hit by a pitch," Molitor said. "Britton is a tough order for anybody. I know he had an at-bat against him in Spring Training where he hit it to center field sharply, but it was a good first day overall for him, I think."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.