Alex Kirilloff had no issues adjusting to the Florida State League following a midseason promotion. But opposing pitchers could not have prepared themselves for the latest phenomenon:
The Twins' second-ranked prospect produced his first career five-hit game -- all singles -- and scored a run as Fort Myers beat Palm Beach, 3-1, to complete a two-game sweep and advance to the FSL Championship Series.
"It's been great," Kirilloff said. "We're all excited right now. We're playing good baseball and we want to keep it going heading into the next series."
Gameday box score
MLB.com's No. 30 overall prospect said the last time he had five hits in a game must have been during his high school career. As the hits piled up Wednesday, Kirilloff kept the same approach by individualizing every at-bat.
"I think I've tried to do it my whole life," he said. "But I think I've gotten better at it, particularly this year. I think it's something I've grown into lately and it's helped me out a lot."
After losing the 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, Kirilloff has more than made up for it this year. The Pittsburgh-area native batted .348 with a .970 OPS during the regular season between Class A Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. Once he joined the Miracle, he turned up the heat, hitting .362 witih seven homers and 45 RBIs in 65 games. In Tuesday's series opener, he clubbed a homer in his first postseason plate appearance.
"Just for me, I want to help my team win and then do anything possible to put us in a better position to do so," the 2016 first-round pick said. "That's just my goal all the time and just help us keep winning ballgames."
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Twins No. 29 prospect Jose Miranda opened the scoring in Game 2 with a two-run homer to left-center field in the third following Kirilloff's second knock of the game, a line drive to the opposite field. In the ninth, the 20-year-old legged out an infield single for his fifth hit.
Mark Contreras provided an insurance run in the sixth with a sac fly of his own for the Miracle. Alex Phillips (1-0) got the win in relief, allowing one hit and striking out two over 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Irving Lopez plated the Cardinals' lone run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
In other FSL playoff action
Tortugas 6, Threshers 5
Reds No. 3 prospect Taylor Trammell reached base three times and delivered a two-run single in a four-run second inning as Daytona squared the other semifinal series. Clearwater plated four in the first but trailed by the end of the second. Relievers Brian Hunter, Joel Kuhnel and Ryan Hendrix combined on five scoreless innings for the Tortugas, yielding a hit and a walk while fanning six. The decisive third game is Thursday in Daytona, with a spot in the Championship Series on the line. Gameday box score.