ANAHEIM, Calif. — C.J. Cron, seemingly a forgotten man in the Angels organization, took advantage of his moment.
On the first pitch that Cron saw as a pinch-hitter on Sunday afternoon, he belted a two-run homer to snap a tie in the Angels’ 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cron had not played yet in the first series since the All-Star break, and he’d barely played over the past month, including a demotion to Triple A. The Angels have stuck with Luis Valbuena, despite his struggles, against right-handed pitchers. That has left Cron to simply wait for chances against lefties.
In the eighth inning of a 2-2 game, the Rays summoned lefty Adam Kolarek when Valbuena was due with a runner at first and one out.
Cron blasted a ball the other way, dropping it just over the fence in right field. It was the Angels’ first pinch-hit homer of the season. The last was hit by Jefry Marte, last June in New York.
After Cron’s homer put the Angels up 4-2, the Rays got one back in the ninth before closer Bud Norris finished it off. The Rays loaded the bases, but the Angels ended the game with a double play, followed by Andrelton Simmons’ drop-kicking his glove in celebration.
Cron’s homer doubled the Angels’ offensive output from the first seven innings, although it came too late too get a victory for Parker Bridwell.
Bridwell did not allow a run until the seventh inning, when Logan Morrison tagged him for a two-run homer that tied the game.
That snapped a 13-inning scoreless streak for Bridwell, who tossed six scoreless innings in his final start before the All-Star break.
Acquired in an April trade for cash considerations or a player to be named, Bridwell has posted a 3.18 ERA in 39 2/3 innings with the Angels.
He didn’t get a victory because the Angels managed only two runs while he was in the game.
The Angels had five hits and five walks against Chris Archer in six innings, including leading off four innings with a hit or walk. That helped them pressure Archer all afternoon, but they couldn’t push him over.
Through the first four innings, the Angels were hitless with four at-bats in runners scoring position. That drought extended to six when Archer struck out Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout (on a 97 mph fastball) in the fifth.
Albert Pujols, though, followed Trout’s strikeout with a single into right, putting the Angels on the board.
The Angels added a run in the sixth. Andrelton Simmons doubled, went to third on a fly ball and scored on Martin Maldonado’s safety squeeze. Rays catcher Jesus Sucre took the flip from Archer in time to tag out Simmons, but inexplicably couldn’t get the tag on him before his foot hit the plate.
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