Consistency has been key for Alex Kirilloff.
Minnesota's No. 2 prospect knocked four straight hits for the fourth time this season to lead Class A Advanced Fort Myers to a 3-2 win over Charlotte at CenturyLink Sports Complex. The offensive output backed a strong start by fourth-ranked Brusdar Graterol, who gave up one run on three hits over seven innings for the Miracle.
Gameday box score
It hasn't taken Kirilloff long to adjust to the Florida State League.
"I've been patient most of all and getting good pitches I can hit," he said. "Trying to not leave the zone and go off with what the pitcher is trying to do to me, but sticking with my approach and stick within myself. It's been going good for me so far."
On a 13-game hitting streak, Kirilloff has boosted his average to .378.
"I've been just trying to go out there and be aggressive," he said. "I'm a big believer in not giving at-bats away and just trying to focus throughout all my at-bats and stick to my approach. It worked out tonight."
He began his night by roping his 20th double of the season to left field off a fastball in the second infield. He came around to score on a single to right by Ben Rortvedt.
The 20-year-old doubled again with another liner off a fastball to left in the fourth. In the sixth, he grounded a single off a slider to center. After a ground-ball single to right off a changeup in the eighth, Kirilloff finished the night having sent a hit to all fields.
"I've really focused on the aggression and not letting the pitcher beat me in the zone," he said. "Pretty much that's been it. I'm trying not to take so much, but at the same time, not letting him beat me in the strike zone. When I'm doing that well, I'm usually not striking out as much. It's kind of been a good thing going lately."
Kirilloff last picked up four hits on July 18 against St. Lucie after posting a four-hit performance in his second game on the circuit on June 22 against Bradenton. He also went 4-for-6 on June 14 with Class A Cedar Rapids.
Being in the midst of a playoff race in the Florida State League has provided some extra adrenaline.
"It's a long year," Kirilloff said. "I want to stay focused mentally every day for the rest of the year. ... It's fun showing up to the ballpark and competing with your teammates trying to win every night, it keeps you engaged. We're just trying to have fun while doing that, we have a good group to make a playoff push."
Twins No. 29 prospect Jose Miranda picked up two hits, a walk and an RBI for the Miracle.
Graterol improved to 4-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.63 while matching the longest outing of his careeer. He walked three and struck out three.
"Brusdar is a very exciting pitcher to watch," said Kirilloff. "He was great tonight, his command was good. His off-speed looked good and he was pretty dominant. It was fun to watch, and our bullpen did good too to keep them where they were at. It was a good job."