Rays score late to de­feat An­gels

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By GREG BEACHAM The As­so­ci­ated Press

ANA­HEIM, Calif. — C.J. Cron and Tyler Sk­aggs be­came fast friends while spend­ing years to­gether with the Los Angeles An­gels. They chirped at each other through texts be­fore Cron ar­rived at An­gel Sta­dium for his first visit since join­ing the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cron got the last word in the sweet­est way pos­si­ble when he rounded the bases af­ter club­bing an im­por­tant homer off Sk­aggs him­self.

Cron home­red and scored two runs against his for­mer team­mates, and Chris Archer pitched two-hit ball into the sev­enth in­ning of the Rays’ 7-1 vic­tory on Thurs­day

Sk­aggs (3-3) took the hard-luck loss de­spite lim­it­ing Tampa Bay to six hits and one run over six in­nings while strik­ing out seven — in­clud­ing Cron in his first two at-bats. Sk­aggs kept the game score­less un­til that solo shot into the bullpens by his old buddy.

“It’s frus­trat­ing, es­pe­cially to a guy that’s one of my re­ally good friends,” Sk­aggs said with a gri­mace. “We had a few smiles in that first at-bat. But I’ve seen that for four or five years. He just needed con­sis­tent at-bats. He’s off to a re­ally good start, so I’m happy for him. It’s just frus­trat­ing for me.”

Cron ex­tended his im­pres­sive start for Tampa Bay by home­r­ing in his third con­sec­u­tive game. While get­ting the reg­u­lar play­ing time he so of­ten lacked with the An­gels, Cron has reached base in a career-best 23 straight games.

The slug­ger was the An­gels’ first-round draft pick in 2011, and he spent the past four sea­sons in Los Angeles’ lineup. Cron was traded last Fe­bru­ary af­ter Sho­hei Oh­tani’s ar­rival elim­i­nated much of his job as a des­ig­nated hit­ter and first base­man.

“I’d be ly­ing if I didn’t say it was a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,” said Cron, who also sin­gled and stole his first base of the sea­son in the sev­enth in­ning. “It’s cool to come back to where it all started. It’s good to see all of the guys again. Those are some of my best friends over there.”

De­nard Span hit a two-run homer dur­ing the Rays’ four­run sev­enth in­ning, and Johnny

Field added a two-run shot in the eighth as the Rays pushed their long­est win­ning streak of the sea­son to four games.

Archer (3-3) re­peat­edly strug­gled with his con­trol

while walk­ing four and hit­ting Justin Up­ton with a pitch, yet he lim­ited Los Angeles’ po­tent lineup to two sin­gles while earn­ing his first vic­tory since April 26.

AP Photo

The Rays’ De­nard Span hits a two-run home run dur­ing Tampa Bay’s 7-1 vic­tory against the An­gels Thurs­day.

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