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Parenthetical. I’ll take it…. There’s no shortage of clichés about getting better day by day. In his third year in the major leagues, Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) overcame his weaknesses to hit his first big league grand slam.

Starting at first base and batting second in the lineup for the Padres’ 2023 Major League Baseball (ML) home game against the Miami Marlins 온라인바카라 at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, Kim went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI, two runs scored, and one strikeout. This raised his season batting average from .278 to .280 and his OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) from .808 to .819.

It didn’t take long to see why Kim has become a fan favorite in San Diego this year. Kim’s helmet came off right from the start. After leading off the inning with a walk, Kim crushed a 96.5-mile-per-hour (155.3 km/h) four-seam fastball from Miami starter Ryan Weathers for a double off the right-field wall. Kim sprinted past first base, his helmet coming off as he reached second base, where he performed his signature two-handed twirl.

This time, it was the quick feet. Fernando Tatis Jr. then drew a walk to load the bases, and Kim and Tatis Jr. slowly got things going. When Juan Soto struck out swinging, they both stole at the same time, Kim’s 28th stolen base of the season and Tatis Jr.’s 23rd. Kim, who already holds the Korean major league record for most stolen bases in a season, is now just two away from his first 30. Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly to left field brought him home for the first run of the game.

The highlight of the day came in his second at-bat. In the second inning, Luis Camposano, Garrett Cooper, and Trent Grisham walked to load the bases with one out. Weathers worked up and down the zone, firing a 97.2-mile-per-hour fastball and an 89.1-mile-per-hour changeup to take advantage of a two-strike, zero-pitch count.

But Kim’s expression didn’t waver. Weathers fired a 96.6 mph (155.5 kilometers per hour) fastball toward him on the third pitch, and Kim didn’t hesitate to swing the bat, sending it over the left-field fence. It was Kim’s 17th home run of the season, clocking in at 95 miles per hour (152.9 km/h) and traveling 359 feet (109 meters), and the first grand slam of his big league career to give San Diego a 5-0 lead. He became the fifth Korean major leaguer to hit a grand slam in the big leagues, joining Choi Hee-seop (one), Choo Shin-soo (four), Kang Jeong-ho (two), and Choi Ji-man (two). It was also his 300th career hit.

The grand slam was special because it came against a ball that has been criticized as one of Kim’s weaknesses. Prior to this game, Kim had a .244 batting average against fastballs, according to Baseball Servant, a U.S. baseball statistics site. While he has improved his ability to handle fastballs this season, he has recently struggled again, dropping to a .230 batting average against pitches over 95 miles per hour. However, Kim’s grand slam against a fastball in the middle of the plate, at the most unfavorable time for a “two-strike, zero-pitch” hitter, made him the hero of Petco Park.

The San Diego team posted rave reviews on their official social media accounts, including “OUR KOREAN KING,” “Ha-Slam Kim (a combination of Ha-seong KIM and GrandSlam, which means grand slam),” and “S in HSK stands for slam,” among others.

After Kim’s grand slam, the game was completely in San Diego’s favor. San Diego won 6-2, and starter Michael Wacka improved to 10-2 on the season with 5 1/3 innings of five-hit ball, two walks, seven strikeouts, and one earned run. With the win, San Diego snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in seventh place in the National League West with 60 wins and 66 losses, 5.5 games behind the third wild-card San Francisco Giants for the final playoff spot.

It was a grand slam to energize San Diego. “After dropping both games of a doubleheader to the Arizona Diamondbacks on what was dubbed the ‘long, miserable day,’ San Diego’s performance this week was crucial. Their fading playoff hopes virtually hinged on this week’s performance, and when San Diego needed a spark this year, Ha-Sung Kim often delivered,”, the official website of Major League Baseball, explained.

Praise also came from the local media and the Padres organization. San Diego head coach Bob Melvin said, “Sometimes our team can get down, but Kim never does. He never drops the ball and never wastes it. He brings a lot of energy.”

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff Sanders wrote on social media that Kim “is becoming a legend,” noting that he was the first player in San Diego to hit a home run, double and steal a base.