Byung-Hyun Kim’s first win of the season was so impressive it convinced Colorado manager Clint Hurdle to give the South Korean right-hander a permanent spot in the Rockies’ rotation.
Kim will look to make good on Hurdle’s confidence in him when the Rockies resume their interleague series with the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Best known for a pair of epic collapses out of the bullpen for Arizona during the 2001 World Series, Kim had been 0-5 with a 6.38 ERA in 20 appearances, including three starts, for the Rockies before Sunday’s 7-3 win over Detroit.
Kim kept the Tigers off-balance through six strong innings, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out eight and walking two to earn his first win since last Oct. 2, against Baltimore as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
“I’m getting better as a starter,” said Kim, who won as a starter for the first time since April 29, 2003, against Florida.
“I feel more comfortable starting than being in the bullpen because I’m out there longer and see hitters more often.”
In four games as a spot starter, Kim has clearly looked more comfortable than in his former role in the bullpen. He’s cut his ERA nearly in half (4.50) and has walked just seven in 22 innings. He walked 26 in 20 2-3 innings as a reliever.
“I just know he’s not going to be in the bullpen anymore,” Hurdle said of Kim, who has allowed four runs in 12 innings over his last two outings.
“He needs to hold onto this job because he’s not going back there anymore. That’s the hard talk we had a while ago. For whatever reason, an opportunity was presented to him and he’s moving upon it.”
The majors’ worst road team, the Rockies ended a six-game skid away from Coors Field with a 2-1 victory in Friday’s series opener. Jason Jennings pitched seven scoreless innings and Todd Helton ended the longest homerless drought of his career with a solo shot in the sixth as Colorado improved to 1-3 on its nine-game trip.
The Orioles had their three-game winning streak snapped in frustrating fashion. They had a baserunner in each of the first six innings but couldn’t score. AL batting leader Brian Roberts twice left the bases loaded, Sammy Sosa struck out three times and Baltimore ended up stranding 11 runners.