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Wilkins homers twice, drives in five
White Sox prospect goes 5-for-6, amasses 13 total bases
06/28/2012 12:51 AM ET
Andy Wilkins was a Carolina League All-Star last season.
Andy Wilkins was a Carolina League All-Star last season. (John Shadrick/Birmingham Barons)
Entering Wednesday, Andy Wilkins had five hits in his last eight games.

Make that 10 in his last nine.

The White Sox's No. 12 prospect went 5-for-6 with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored to lead Double-A Birmingham in an 11-0 rout of Tennessee.

Wilkins hit his first homer since June 5 in the opening inning, doubled in the fourth and singled in another run in the fifth. But it wasn't until he doubled again in the sixth that he finally felt like it would be his night.

"I hit a fly ball to left and it was just a weird sky here [at Smokies Park]," Wilkins said. "I felt like the way my season has gone before today, that ball gets caught. I kinda figured the guy would get it without a problem, but it dropped in. I was pretty fortunate."

Wilkins went deep again leading off the eighth before striking out in the ninth. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, perhaps the only feat that could have made the night perfect. But that didn't seem to bother the University of Arkansas product.

"I was definitely aware of the cycle there in the final at-bat," he said. "It would have been something crazy had it actually happened, it would have been great. It's obviously in the back of my mind. But I'm still just trying to get a hit like any other time."

The 2010 fifth-round Draft pick entered the night batting .207 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 54 games. That followed a season in which he hit .278 with 23 homers and 89 RBIs to earn Carolina League All-Star honors.

According to Wilkins, most of his first-half struggles stemmed from a torn right rotator cuff that forced the 23-year-old first baseman to miss 17 games from May 12-29.

"It was a little tough to settle in," he said. "I had gotten hurt earlier in the season, so I spent some time dealing with that injury. When I was getting back, I was spending time getting my swing right, and that took a while. But now I'm playing without pain and I feel like I'm getting back to a good swing, the right swing that I need to perform well here."

Although the shoulder pain may be gone, Wilkins had been batting .226 with 16 strikeouts in 21 games this month. So Wednesday's career night was unexpected.

"I thought it was possible, but the way this season has been going, I didn't expect it at all," he said. "I was pretty fortunate. I had that ball just drop in, which was pretty helpful. I tried to keep it simple and it all worked out."

That said, Wilkins added there's nothing he can do but sit back and admire one of the finest games of his career.

"I'm just going to feed off it," he said. "I haven't had this type of game since I've come up here. So all I can really do is enjoy it and feed off it."

White Sox No. 19 prospect Andre Rienzo allowed three hits and four walks over seven shutout innings. The Brazilian right-hander hasn't given up a run in his last two starts (15 innings) and owns a 0.49 ERA through his first three Double-A outings.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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