Kirilloff heating up for Blue Wahoos

Twins No. 2 prospect homers, plates three on three-hit night

Alex Kirilloff has eight hits in his last five games, including two three-hit efforts. (Danny

By Duane Cross / | August 17, 2019 11:59 PM

Alex Kirilloff was down in the count. His focus, however, wasn't on a particular pitch. He was zeroed in on being consistent with his approach. And it paid off, again.'s No. 16 overall prospect had three hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs as Double-A Pensacola flirted with a no-hitter in a 5-1 win over Chattanooga on Saturday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Video: Blue Wahoos' Kirilloff swats two-run dinger

Kirilloff reached on a two-out infield single off Wendolyn Bautista in the first inning. He stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by catcher Chris Okey but was stranded.

The second-ranked Twins prospect stroked an RBI single to right field off the right-hander in the third, plating Willians Astudillo to give the Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead.

With hits in his first two at-bats, the 21-year-old said he was not looking to get greedy in ensuing plate appearances.

"I try to stick to at-bat by at-bat," he said. "If I focus on the at-bat, the pitch, I've found more consistent results. The more I do that, the better."

Kirilloff touched Bautista (1-3) for a two-out, two-run blast over the right-field wall in the fifth, capping Pensacola's scoring with his ninth long ball of the season. 

Gameday box score

"It was a fastball," he said. "The first two pitches were sliders and I was in an 0-2 hole. ... For me, I don't try to sit on a pitch. I just wanted to be in a position to make contact."

In four games batting in the No. 3 spot, the 2016 first-round pick is 7-for-13 (.538) with a homer and four RBIs. Overall, he's hitting .276/.334/.418 with 39 RBIs and 40 runs scored.

"The [Double-A] pitchers are older, more experienced, some of them even have some big league experience," Kirilloff noted. "A lot of them have command of their off-speed pitches and stick to their game plan.

"I feel pretty good overall. I'm making day-to-day adjustments. I just want to be consistent, that's the main focus. For me, it's about making adjustments and pinpoint what [the pitcher] is doing and adjust to counteract that."

Five Blue Wahoos pitchers held the Lookouts hitless until third-ranked Reds prospect Jonathan India led off the ninth with an infield single. Twins No. 3 prospect Brusdar Graterol (6-0) struck one in two innings of perfect relief for the win.

2019 MiLB include

Graterol,'s No. 56 overall prospect, and Twins No. 23 prospect Jorge Alcala will join Triple-A Rochester on Monday.

Kirilloff admitted he wasn't aware the no-hitter was intact after the Lookouts scored with two outs in the seventh on two walks sandwiched between a pair of hit batters.

"I may have taken note two innings before but ... maybe had forgotten, some of us, after they scored. At the end of the day, we won the ballgame. It hurts to let something as cool as a no-hitter slip by, but we have to pick up and move on. Tomorrow is another game," he said.

Duane Cross is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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