Minor League Sports

Top-draft pick Alex Kirilloff homers twice to help Cedar Rapids Kernels past Peoria and to 5-0 start

Cedar Rapids Kernels’ Alex Kirilloff fields a fly ball during the sixth inning of the home opener against the Quad Cities River Bandits at Veterans Memorial Stadium in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kernels’ Alex Kirilloff fields a fly ball during the sixth inning of the home opener against the Quad Cities River Bandits at Veterans Memorial Stadium in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

PEORIA, Ill. — The Cedar Rapids Kernels hit four home runs, including a pair from Alex Kirilloff to drop Peoria, 12-9, Wednesday night in Midwest League baseball at Dozer Park.

Cedar Rapids has gotten off to a 5-0 start to the season, with Toby Gardenhire the first person in the Kernels era (1993 to now) to win his first five games as a manager.

The teams conclude their four-game series Thursday.


Kirilloff, the parent Minnesota Twins’ top draft pick in 2016, hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to open the scoring in this game. He followed with a three-run shot in the third to put his team on top, 6-5.

David Banuelos and Ben Rodriguez also homered for the Kernels, who finished with 14 hits. Kirilloff finished 3-for-5 in the game with six RBIs, with Rodriguez going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.

Reliever Calvin Faucher (1-0) picked up the pitching victory, coming in for starter Randy Dobrak in the fourth inning and posting 2 1/3 shutout innings. Ryan Mason picked up his second save of the season by throwing the final three innings.

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