PEORIA, ILL. - Alex Kirilloff recorded his first professional multi-homer game Wednesday at Dozer Park, and the Cedar Rapids Kernels tallied four total home runs in a 12-9 victory over the Peoria Chiefs. Kirilloff also produced a personal-best six runs batted in and tied a career high with three base hits. The Kernels scored in each of the first seven innings in Wednesday's win.
Cedar Rapids bumped its record up to 5-0, and manager Toby Gardenhire became the first person in the Kernels era (1993 to present) to win the first five games of his Kernels managerial tenure. Peoria fell to 1-4 with its fourth defeat in a row. The Kernels also secured a series win by claiming a 3-0 advantage in this four-game set.
Video: Kirilloff hits first full-season homer
Kirilloff collected both home runs early during a back-and-forth swing between the Kernels and the Chiefs. His two-run blast in the first inning opened the scoring, but the Chiefs rallied in front, 4-2, after an RBI single by Juan Yepez and a three-run homer for Dylan Carlson. Ben Rodriguez hit a solo shot in the top of the second before Yariel Gonzalez produced an RBI single in the home half of the frame. Kirilloff answered in the third with a three-run, go-ahead homer to give Cedar Rapids a 6-5 edge.
Video: Kirilloff hits second homer of game
The momentum continued to shift within the fourth inning. Jose Miranda lifted the Kernels' lead to 7-5 on a sacrifice fly prior to a go-ahead rally from the Chiefs. Taylor Bryant closed the gap with an RBI double. Gonzalez evened the score by hitting a game-tying single, and Yepez pushed Peoria to an 8-7 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Over the next three innings, Cedar Rapids rattled off five consecutive runs and moved ahead for good. Rodriguez tied the contest with a fifth-inning RBI single, and David Banuelos crushed a solo home run next for a 9-8 edge. In the sixth, Kirilloff and Andrew Bechtold drove in runs via single and force out, respectively. The Kernels' final run came during the seventh when Banuelos singled to bring Rodriguez home.
The Chiefs threatened in the bottom of the ninth but only trimmed their deficit to 12-9. Peoria loaded the bases to start the frame. After a strikeout, a sacrifice fly from Dennis Ortega allowed Bryant to score. A groundout by Jonatan Machado followed and ended the contest.
Calvin Faucher (1-0) tossed 2.1 shutout innings of relief to earn the victory. Kevin Hamann (0-1) was saddled with the loss after conceding four runs - three earned - in 2.1 frames. Ryan Mason notched a three-inning save and only yielded one run while picking up his second save of the season.
Thursday's series finale is slated for 6:30 p.m., and Kernels right-hander Nick Brown (0-0, -.--) will face Chiefs right-hander Jake Walsh (1-0, 0.00). Listen to the action on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand features three games and begins Friday, April 13. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are the Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.