Cron plates five, helps end Travs' skid

Angels prospect homers, doubles in 8-6 victory over Hooks

By Josh Jackson / Special to | May 26, 2013 8:14 PM ET

C.J. Cron doesn't know if Sunday's home run was the longest he's ever hit, but he was sure of one thing.

"I knew it was awfully gone," he said.

The Angels' No. 3 prospect followed his monster third-inning blast with a two-run double and collected a season-high five RBIs as Double-A Arkansas ended a five-game skid by beating Corpus Christi, 8-6.

Cron's roundtripper off Hooks starter Carlos Quevedo (1-4) gave the Travelers their first lead since the top of the fifth inning of Friday's 4-2 loss to San Antonio. The 23-year-old first baseman left no room for doubt, smacking a 2-0 fastball far over the left-field fence at Corpus Christi's Whataburger Field.

"It's tough playing in all the different parks to know where the farthest ones are, but I was able to get a really good swing on it," he said. "It was a fastball, basically right down the middle, maybe inner-third."

The homer erased a 1-0 deficit. And when the Hooks scored in the opening frame, it brought to mind the six-run eighth they pieced together on Saturday that featured three walks, two errors, a wild pitch and a hit batter.

"I thought it was really important to get runs early," Cron said. "When they scored in the first, they were kind of continuing off the previous game, so it was great that we were able to come back to put up four."

Arkansas starter Brandon Hynick (4-3) limited the damage in the first by picking off George Springer with runners at the corners and one out.

"Springer kind a lunged toward second as if he was trying to get a read on Hynick, and right when he did, Hyneck threw over. It was perfect timing," said Cron, who slapped the tag on the Astros' third-ranked prospect. "That could have been big a inning. You never know, especially considering what happened yesterday."

From the last out of the first through the first out in the sixth, Hynick retired 14 consecutive batters. The Hooks rank second in the Texas League with 229 runs scored.

"Hynick really settled in and we rode that out for the victory," Cron said. "Anytime a pitcher goes out there and continually shuts down the other team is awesome. He did that and we were able to do our jobs. And that was a fun little stretch."

The fun little stretch included Cron's 15th double of the season. Although it extended the Travs' lead to 6-1, the 2012 California League Rookie of the Year did not feel he'd put a nail in the Hooks' coffin.

"I was just glad I could put up more runs. Especially at that park, anything can happen," he said. "I knew we had a lot of game left to play. It was one of those things where we were getting some runs early and I tried to add to it."

His instincts proved correct. Hynick allowed the lone run on two hits over six innings, but Nick Maronde ran into trouble in the eighth. The Angels' No. 2 prospect retired only two batters and gave up five runs -- three earned -- on three hits and two walks.

"In the later innings, our bats cooled off a little bit and they started hitting," Cron said. "We kind of gave a few back at the end, but it was a fun game. I knew were going to shut the door."

Josh Judy picked up his first save by getting out of the eighth and working around a double and two walks in the ninth.

Kaleb Cowart, the Angels' top-ranked prospect, was 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored, while No. 7 prospect Randal Grichuk went homered for the second straight game as part of a 3-for-4 performance.

Cron, selected 17th overall in the 2011 Draft, led all Minor Leaguers with 123 RBIs last season for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. After sharing the Cal League lead with 27 homers, he's got four this season while hitting .313 with 27 RBIs in 46 games.

The University of Utah product is not the type to slow down and take stock of his accomplishments.

"You definitely have to ignore all that. Baseball can get you pretty quick if you're not focused on the task at hand," Cron said. "You have to kind of block out everything everybody's written or said about you. I want to do well and get up to that next level, but I can't be thinking about it. I need to my focus on getting better every day, and that's what I'm doing."

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

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