C.J Cron has barely been in the Pacific Coast League one week, but he's already learned that Triple-A pitching is unlike anything he's ever faced before.
But when the first-rounder dug in at the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning Tuesday night, he drew on his at-bats from the past six days and put those brief experiences to good use.
The No. 3 Angels prospect took the second pitch he saw from Brett Bochy and deposited it just over the wall in the corner down the first-base line to give the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Fresno Grizzlies.
"It was exciting. It was 1-0 and he threw me a slider up," said Cron, who said he was looking for the trademark spin of an off-speed pitch. "They have been throwing me backward the whole series in big situations. We had been talking about that in the dugout before, that even if it's a 10-run game, the pitchers don't want to give up runs.
"They want to get to the big leagues and they're not afraid to flip up changeups or sliders in hitters' counts. ... [I didn't know it was a homer] off the bat. I knew it was at least over [right fielder Tyler Colvin's] head, but it barely got out. It was pretty cool."
The outing extended Cron's hitting streak to six games and was his fifth appearance with an extra-base hit and at least one RBI. It lifted his batting average to .321 and left him a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Selected by the Angels 17th overall in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Utah, Cron doubled in the second and singled in the ninth before delivering the decisive blow -- his first Triple-A homer -- in the 12th.
A Futures Game selection and Texas League All-Star last year, Cron also flied out in the third and sixth innings and grounded out in the eighth.
"I'm just seeing the ball well," Cron said. "I don't think I'm doing a terribly good job, but the balls I'm hitting, I'm hitting on the barrel. We have a stacked lineup and there are no holes in the lineup. With [center fielder] Brennan Boesch hitting behind me, I know I'm going to get some pitches to hit.
"Just play the game hard and keep getting better. Until you reach the big leagues, and even when you do, you're always trying to get better. My goal is to make the big leagues and I'll do anything I can to get there."
Boesch finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and shortstop Tommy Field was 2-for-5 with an RBI triple and a run scored.
Cory Rasmus (1-0), the fifth guy out of the Bees bullpen, earned the win after allowing one hit in a scoreless frame.
Bochy (0-1) was saddled with the loss. He yielded a run on two hits while fanning three batters over 2 1/3 innings. Grizzlies second baseman Tony Abreu homered and doubled.