Kim crushes first homer of career in O's win

Kim crushes first homer of career in O's win

CLEVELAND -- With the score deadlocked at 4 in the seventh, Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim launched a 2-2 fastball from Indians reliever Jeff Manship over the right-field wall to put his team up for good in the 6-4 win on Sunday.

However, as he rounded third base and peered into the dugout, Kim noticed something unusual.

When he finally trucked back to the dugout, his suspicions became a reality. Rather than getting mobbed by his teammates, the rookie received the polar opposite response. Not a single player or staff member acknowledged him in the dugout -- not even his own translator.

"I hate that," Showalter said. "He's a pretty sharp guy. I think he had it figured out about halfway to home. But he handled it well."

After several moments of giving him the silent treatment, Kim's teammates finally began to swarm him, congratulating him on the first home run of his Major League career. Several players started to dump sunflower seeds on him.

It may have taken him until his 47th big league at-bat, but Kim had finally put the ball over the wall. Per Statcast™, Kim's blast had an exit velocity of 108 mph and it traveled an estimated 377 feet into the seats past the right-field wall at Progressive Field.

"I was really excited to have my first home run make a contribution to a team win," Kim said through his translator. "I would have still been happy if the home run came in a situation that doesn't decide the win or loss. But because it helped the team win, it really made me happy."

Kim on his first career home run

But given the magnitude of the situation, the Orioles weren't going to let a chance at some rookie hazing go by the wayside. In fact, Kim had even expected it.

"I've seen a reaction like that in Korea," Kim said through his translator. "So I was aware of it. So I knew maybe I should stay quiet until they react."

Kim's monumental feat came exactly seven weeks to the day since he made his debut on April 10, becoming the first Korean-born player in Orioles history. Lately, he has become a mainstay in Baltimore's lineup.

Sunday was the fifth straight time Showalter wrote Kim's name on the lineup card. During that span, the rookie is 7-for-18, including a 1-for-3 showing in the series finale against Cleveland. Kim has now hit safely in 11 of his last 17 contests.

"It's definitely helping me a lot to prepare to know that I am going to start the game," Kim said through his translator. "I'm just getting ready for every game like I'm going to start."

Despite Sunday's dinger being just Kim's third extra-base hit this season, he is still sporting a .383 batting average. Over the weekend, Showalter joked that he couldn't take Kim out of the starting lineup until he was at least hitting below .350.

For now, all Showalter is concerned about is giving Kim his souvenir baseball from his milestone.

"We got the ball," Showalter said. "From somebody in the outfield. I'm sure we paid dearly for it, but it's sitting on my desk."

When asked what he was going to do with the memorabilia, Kim shrugged it off and kept his mind on the task in front of him.

"I'm not too concerned about collectables," Kim said through his translator. "I'm just going to focus on tomorrow's game. I will focus on staying in the game and performing every day, not just living in the past."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.