KANSAS CITY -- Byung Ho Park picked a dramatic moment for his first career homer, as he launched a go-ahead solo blast off right-hander Joakim Soria in the eighth inning of the Twins' eventual 4-3 loss to the Royals on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Park, who hit a combined 105 homers in Korea over the last two years, got all of it, as the ball left his bat at 111 mph and traveled 433 feet, per Statcast™. He was able to jump on a 1-1 slider from Soria that stayed up in the zone, and hit it over the fountains beyond the left-field fence despite heavy winds.
The Twins, though, couldn't hold the lead after Park's blast, and dropped to 0-4 on the season, which put a damper on his first big league homer.
"The first home run in the big leagues does mean something to me but the losing streak means more," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "We need to get our first win."
Twins manager Paul Molitor, though, was happy to see Park get his first homer out of the way, and noted he almost hit one out in his first at-bat of the night, against right-hander Yordano Ventura, only to see it caught at the wall by center fielder Lorenzo Cain. Park, a two-time MVP in Korea, is hitting .222 with two walks in his first three career games.
"It would've been nice if we were talking about a game-winner," Molitor said. "He hit the ball really well in his first at-bat. I think the wind kept a couple balls in the park tonight. The first at-bat, he hit that one really well to right-center field. But there was no doubt about that ball hit out there. I wasn't sure if it ended up in the waterfall but I'm glad he got the ball back."
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.