Kim — the Korean import whose spring training struggles had the Orioles trying to send him to the minors to open the year — might have saved the Orioles' season by coming off the bench and giving his team the clutch hit they were missing through their first 17 innings here in Toronto with their postseason hopes on the line.
He saw Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna's entire arsenal – fastballs, changeups, sinkers and sliders – in a nine-pitch at-bat that he extended with four foul balls before sending a full-count, 95-mph fastball over the right-field wall to silence a shocked crowd of 44,668.
"I think that's what it's all about," said right fielder Mark Trumbo, whose 46th homer of the season represented the Orioles' only run going into the ninth. "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."
Coming off the bench has been an adjustment for Kim, who earned the moniker of being Korea's "Iron Man" for playing every day. Now, he's mostly used against right-hander pitching. But he's excelled off the bench, going 6-for-9 with two walks as a pinch hitter, reaching base eight of 11 times.