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Tigers' Kim Do-yeong joins 20-20 club with homer off Ryu Hyun-jin

June 23, 2024 - 18:42 By Yonhap
Kim Do-yeong of the Kia Tigers hits a solo home run against the Hanwha Eagles during a Korea Baseball Organization regular-season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Kia Tigers infielder Kim Do-yeong joined the 20-20 club in South Korean baseball Sunday with a home run off former Major League All-Star Ryu Hyun-jin.

Kim swatted a solo home run off Ryu, the starter for the Hanwha Eagles, to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, some 270 kilometers south of Seoul. It was Kim's 20th home run of this Korea Baseball Organization season.

Kim already had 22 steals prior to Sunday's game. At 20 years, eight months and 21 days old, Kim became the second-youngest player in KBO history with a 20-20 campaign.

Kim joined this club in his 73rd game, tied for the third-fewest games ever with former NC Dinos star Eric Thames in 2015.

Kim is now just the third KBO player to put up at least 20 home runs and 20 steals before the All-Star break.

Former All-Star Park Jae-hong accomplished that feat twice, in 1996 and 2000. Former LG Twins star and current Samsung Lions coach Lee Byung-kyu did it in 1999. Thames had been the last one to put up 20-plus home runs and 20-plus steals in the first half, with 28 and 22 in 2015.

Prior to Kim, there had been 56 individual seasons with at least 20 homers and 20 steals, most recently by Twins shortstop Oh Ji-hwan in 2022.

Kim, playing in his third season, blasted 10 home runs in April alone, but only managed three home runs in May. He has regained his power stroke in June. Sunday's homer was Kim's seventh for this month.

Ryu had not allowed an earned run in 28 1/3 straight innings before Kim tagged him for the homer. Prior to Sunday, Ryu had surrendered just one home run in 80 innings this season. After Kim homered, Choi Hyoung-woo followed up immediately with a solo shot of his own, and Na Sung-bum smoked a three-run homer off Ryu in the fifth inning. (Yonhap)