Padres’ Kim Ha-seong belts 1st homer of season vs. Giants, countryman Lee

The San Diego Padres' South Korean shortstop Kim Ha-seong has gone deep for the first time this season, with his close friend and countryman on the opposing team watching on the field. In an "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" moment, Kim smoked a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the second inning at Petco Park in San Diego on Sunday (local time), a day after the Giants' South Korean rookie, Lee Jung-hoo, blasted his first career big league home run. Lee stood in center field and watched Kim's moon shot off Daulton Jefferies clear the left field wall. The ball left Kim's bat at 98.8 mph and traveled 357 feet. Kim entered the game batting .167 in five games with no extra-base hits. And he went 3-for-4 with a home run and a double Sunday to raise his batting average to .273. Kim also scored three times, after doing so just once over his five previous games. Kim's homer came during the four-run second inning, after the Padres had already scored five times in the bottom of the first. They went on to win 13-4, as the two National League (NL) West rivals split their four-game series. In the eighth, Kim sent a line drive to Lee in left center field and sprinted to second base for a double as Lee's throw went a bit offline. Lee was held hitless for the first time after recording at least a hit in each of the first three games. But Lee drew three walks -- the first three free passes of his young career -- and has a .368 on-base percentage to go along with a .286 batting average. Over his seven-year career in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Lee was well known for his bat-to-ball skills and discipline at the plate. He had 383 walks against 304 strikeouts. He had more walks and strikeouts in five of his seven seasons with the Kiwoom Heroes. Through four games, Lee has seen 80 pitches and has whiffed on just two of them. Kim and Lee were teammates on the Heroes from 2017, Lee's rookie season, to 2020, Kim's final campaign there. Kim has established himself as an everyday big leaguer over time, winning the NL Gold Glove at the utility spot last year after being a finalist at shortstop in 2022. Kim is back as the team's primary shortstop for this year. Lee has batted leadoff and played center field in all four games of the season-opening series. The Giants are counting on the 25-year-old to be their regular center fielder, after cycling through 11 center fielders in 2023. Source: Yonhap News Agency