This afternoon, Twins rookie Alex Kirilloff went where no big-leaguer had ever gone before, driving a single to right for his first career hit in Minnesota’s opening-round series with Houston. Prior to Wednesday, no player had ever recorded their first hit in the postseason.
Ranked the No. 27 prospect in baseball and second in the Twins’ farm system according to MLB Pipeline, Kirilloff spent all of last year in the Southern League, contributing a respectable .283 average with nine homers, 43 RBI and seven steals in 94 appearances for Pensacola. Outside of Grapefruit League games, Wednesday was Kirilloff’s first time playing at a level higher than Double-A. In addition to his fourth-inning single off Jose Urquidy, which would stand as Kirilloff’s only hit of the afternoon, the former first-round pick also flashed serious leather in right field, robbing Astros vet Josh Reddick with a phenomenal sliding catch.
Not a bad day at the office for the talented 22-year-old, though unfortunately, Kirilloff’s first game of 2020 would also be his last. Wednesday’s 3-1 loss eliminated the Twins, who have now dropped 18 straight playoff games dating back to 2004 (Kirilloff was only in first grade at the time). That’s the longest postseason losing skid in MLB history.
Speaking of history, the Reds and Braves made some Wednesday, beginning their series opener with a playoff-record 12 straight scoreless innings. After trading clean sheets for the better part of four hours, Freddie Freeman finally came through in the 13th, singling home Cristian Pache for the afternoon’s only run in a walk-off Atlanta victory.