Lewis celebrates 19th birthday with slam

Kirilloff provides another present with his own in Kernels' rout

Royce Lewis matched a career high with four RBIs and bested his season high by one. (Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)

By Josh Horton / MiLB.com | June 6, 2018 1:21 AM

Royce Lewis made sure his 19th birthday celebration was grand. So did Class A Kernels teammate Alex Kirilloff

Minnesota's top prospect slugged the first grand slam of his career and sixth-ranked Kirilloff later did likewise in Cedar Rapids' 14-3 win over Beloit in Tuesday's doubleheader nightcap.

Video: Kernels' Lewis clubs first pro grand slam

"It was a nice boost," Kernels hitting coach Brian Dinkelman said. "It was good to see those guys be able to drive runners in and have a couple of grand slams." 

Lewis launched an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left-center field off Snappers starter Jean Ruiz in the fourth inning, scoring Andrew Bechtold, Jordan Gore and Jean Carlos Arias for a 7-2 Kernels lead. 

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft went 2-for-4 with two runs, tying his career high with four RBIs and surpassing his season high of three. 

Gameday box score

Lewis entered Tuesday hitting .290/.337/.403 in his first full season of professional baseball but in a mini-slump, collecting just one hit over his last four games and batting .238 over the past 10.The shortstop earned a callup to the Midwest League ball last season after posting a .271/.390/.414 slash line in 36 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Dinkelman has been impressed with the way Lewis has handled his first full season. 

"I think he's starting to come along now," the coach said. "I think earlier in the season he was getting used to the everyday grind of it. Now the last month or so, I think he's figured it out and learned how to prepare himself and his body. He's done a nice job for us so far." 

Video: Kirilloff bashes grand slam for Cedar Rapids

Kirilloff's slam came in the fifth. The Twins' first-round pick in 2016 went yard to left-center off Ty Damron with two outs to push the lead to 12-2. That pushed his homer total to 11, which leads the Midwest League. 

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"The best part about it is he's doing a lot of his damage hitting the ball the other way," Dinkelman said of the 20-year-old. "He's hit a lot of home runs to left-center, center field. He's been pretty impressive so far this year and our most consistent hitter all year."

Robby Rinn went 3-for-4 with a two-run long ball and Trey Cabbage doubled twice in a 3-for-4 game for Cedar Rapids. 

Jesus Lopez went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, Trace Loehr hit a solo shot and Jack Meggs tripled and drove in a run as the Snappers upended the Kernels, 5-2, in the opener. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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