Plum High School Alum and Pittsburgh native Alex Kirilloff is making an instant impact for the Minnesota Twins so far during his first season in the Major Leagues as a utility outfielder and first baseman. Through 39 games in the majors, Kirilloff ranks third on the team in average (.261), fourth in slugging (.430) and OPS (.737), sixth in RBIs (22) and seventh in on-base percentage (.307).
On Monday night vs. Cincinnati, Kirilloff hit a career milestone, stealing the first base of his major league career and it came in unconventional fashion. Not known for his speed, Kirilloff — who had just 11 stolen bases in his professional career entering Monday’s contest — relied on the element of surprise to pull off his first theft.
Kirilloff led off the eighth inning of a 3-3 game vs. the Reds and reached on a bloop single just over the head of second baseman Jonathan India. As he was taking off his batting gloves and elbow padding, Twins first base coach Tommy Watkins noticed that time had not been called and everyone in the Cincinnati infield had their backs to second base as Reds reliever Art Warren meandered back to the mound.
Watkins pointed to the open base at second and, after he ditched his hitting gear, Kirilloff took a few hesitant steps off of first before bolting for second. Kirilloff was already into his slide before any Reds player noticed he had even left first.
Twins 1B coach Tommy Watkins gets Alex Kirilloff to steal second because time was never called after his hit and nobody was at 2nd base pic.twitter.com/lryAwWELry
— CJ Fogler (@cjzer0) June 22, 2021
After a brief conversation, the umpires confirmed that time was not called, the play was still live and that Kirilloff could remain in scoring position at second.
Kirilloff was stranded that inning, but the Twins would eventually pull out their fifth-straight victory on a walk-off homer from Miguel Sano in the 12th inning. Kirilloff went 2 for 4 with a pair of walks and an RBI over the course of the 5 hour and 14 minute-long game, which was the longest in the Majors so far this year.