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Cron uses home cooking to bust slump
Angels prospect hits grand slam, drives in five runs for Travs
08/18/2013 2:14 AM ET
C.J. Cron is 9-for-17 with eight RBIs over his last four games.
C.J. Cron is 9-for-17 with eight RBIs over his last four games. (Walter Barnard/MiLB.com)

C.J. Cron realized after the second inning of Saturday's game that he'd already collected five RBIs, but he had no intention of stopping there.

"I knew I had them, but it would have been nice to build on them," he said. "Five is good, but six is better than five; seven is better than five. I didn't get any more hits after that, but I guess I got them in early."

The Angels' second-ranked prospect delivered with a first-inning double and a second-inning grand slam in Double-A Arkansas' 9-3 victory over Corpus Christi.

"I'm just seeing the ball well," he said. "I'm coming off a huge slump, so it's nice to hit a few balls hard. It's nice to have them fall in gaps and it's nice to help the team win."

The 23-year-old first baseman is on a 6-for-8 tear over his last two games. But before the Travelers came home on Tuesday, he was 1-for-25 on a six-game road trip.

"It's kind of just one of those things," said Cron, a 2011 first-round pick. "My hands didn't feel comfortable in their position and I missed a lot of pitches that I usually hit hard. It's definitely been frustrating. When we got home, there were a few hits over a couple of games. I started to sense it coming back. Then, when Corpus came into town, it was working."

The five-RBI game was Cron's third of the season, with two coming against the Hooks. His forgettable road trip also included three games in Corpus Christi.

"I can't say I own them or anything," he said, "since I only got one hit at their place last series."

On Saturday, Cron slapped an RBI double to left in his first at-bat. When he came up with the bases loaded an inning later, the Travelers had a 3-2 lead. Facing Hooks starter Kyle Hallock, the University of Utah product worked the count to 2-2 before sending the next delivery over the center-field wall.

"[Hooks pitchers] have been mixing it up pretty good against me. And they've made mistakes against me, some I've been able to hit and some I've fouled back," Cron said. "I wanted to bust the game open, since it was early. We had a good crowd and I wanted to get them going."

The Travelers added two runs in the third to build a 9-2 lead.

"We put up nine in the first three innings," Cron said. "It would have been nice to add a few more, but the pitching staff did what they needed to do, got out of a few jams and kept us pretty far ahead the whole game."

Randal Grichuk, the Angels' No. 5 prospect, started Arkansas' scoring with a homer in the first, then tripled and continued home on a throwing error in the third.

"He's great. He's got lots of pop," Cron said. "They scored in the first and then he leads off the bottom of the inning with a home run -- that jump-starts our offense. He's been doing that all year for us. He's been crushing balls."

In the fifth, Grichuk caught a fly ball in right field and threw out Astros No. 10 prospect Domingo Santana, who tried to advance to the third.

"I saw him tag up a little late, I didn't think he was going to go," Cron said. "Grichuk threw the snot of it, and they got him."

Cron, who batted .293 with 27 homers to earn California League Rookie of the Year honors last season, raised his average to .277 with 10 homers and 69 RBIs in 119 games.

Santana finished 2-for-2 with a walk, while Hooks leadoff man Enrique Hernandez doubled twice, reached base four times and scored two runs.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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