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Lugnuts' Pillar goes 6-for-6, ties record

Blue Jays prospect hits grand slam to complete six-RBI night
May 13, 2012
There are big nights and then there are nights when your teammates leave a fire extinguisher in your locker after the game.

Kevin Pillar found the fire suppression device waiting for him Saturday after a team record-tying 6-for-6, six-RBI night in the Class A Lansing Lugnuts' 16-4 romp over the Dayton Dragons.

The Blue Jays prospect equaled the mark set by Franklin German, who collected six hits for the Lugnuts on May 25, 1999.

"I've never had anything like this," Pillar said. "I started out 3-for-3 yesterday, too, and struck out in the fourth at-bat. When I got the fourth hit today, I knew I could get up again and make it a special night. I got the fifth hit but never thought I'd get a sixth at-bat."

Due up sixth in the top of the ninth inning, it was reasonable for the 23-year-old outfielder to assume his night at the plate was over. But Jonathon Berti and Chris Hawkins singled. One out later, K.C. Hobson loaded the bases with another base hit. Carlos Perez popped out, setting the stage for Pillar to put an exclamation point on his historic night.

He didn't miss, sending an offering from reliever James Allen over the left-field wall for a grand slam.

"There's no better way to really top it off than a grand slam," said Pillar, Toronto's 32nd-round pick in last year's Draft. "I got a good pitch and as soon as it hit the bat, I knew it was gone. That was a great way to end the game."

Pillar doubled in the first, then singled in the third, fourth and sixth. He said he was able to enjoy it all the more because his teammates had such a good time with it.

"They were really supportive and congratulatory. It makes it more special when you share it with your teammates and they're as equally happy for you as you are for yourself," he added. "When I got the fifth hit, as soon as it went up the middle and got through the hole, I heard the loud ovation in the dugout. And that was in the eighth inning."

The perfect night raised Pillar's average 33 points to .331. It also continued a five-game stretch during which the California native is 15-for-23 with 12 RBIs.

Pillar admitted that when the sixth plate appearance became a possibility, he was hoping his teammates would get him a shot at the career night.

"You don't really think you'll get six at-bats in a game," he said. "I got on deck [in the ninth] and was really hoping there just wasn't a double play. A lot of people would be satisfied with five, hits but I really wanted that sixth one. You just don't really get a chance to go 6-for-6. And the stage was kind of set with the bases loaded.

"It was just an incredible night. I'll enjoy it tonightm but I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We're playing on Mother's Day, we want a win."

Noah Syndergaard (3-0) picked up the win in relief, fanning seven over four innings while allowing two runs on five hits. The Blue Jays' No. 4 prospect has 35 strikeouts against 10 walks over 24 2/3 frames.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to