Cron homers twice in Rays’ 10-1 win over Twins
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays traded for C.J. Cron in February to help compensate for the loss of most of the power that produced a club-record 228 home runs last season.
Cron delivered Saturday night in a 10-1 win over the Minnesota Twins, hitting a pair of two-run homers for the Rays, who had hit only 10 in their first 19 games.
“I do think power comes in bunches, so it’s nice I can get a couple here and contribute to a win,” Cron said. “Maybe it’s just the streakiness of baseball, but hopefully it can continue.”
Blake Snell won his third straight start for the Rays.
Cron’s homer in the third inning put the Rays up 2-1 after Adeiny Hechavarria singled for their first hit off Kyle Gibson. Cron connected again in the seventh off Gabriel Moya, capping a five-run inning that broke the game open. It was his fourth homer of the season.
Joey Wendle had three hits and scored twice for the Rays, who won their third straight for the first time this year. Daniel Robertson added a homer for the Rays in the eighth.
“I think one through nine we had our best offensive day of the year,” Cron said.
Snell (3-1) surrendered just one run for his third consecutive start, striking out six and allowing five hits in seven innings. In 15 starts since his recall from the minors last August, the left-hander is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA.
“He’s building something pretty good right now,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Snell has gone two straight starts without a walk.
“I’m not going to be satisfied with it,” Snell said. “It’s definitely in the right direction, especially from the walk standpoint, but I know that there’s a lot that I can grasp onto and really be a better all-around pitcher.”
Gibson (1-1) gave up four runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven.
Brian Dozier led off the game with a double and scored on Miguel Sano’s sacrifice fly. The hit stretched Dozier’s season-opening hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in the majors. He has hit in 22 straight games going back to last season, batting .376 in that stretch.
Joe Mauer went 0 for 4 for the Twins, ending his streak of 27 games reaching base safely against Tampa Bay.
Minnesota has won only once in a nine-day stretch that included three weather postponements and a two-game trip to Puerto Rico.
“We have to be patient,” said manager Paul Molitor. “We’re coming off a stretch where we faced a couple of really good pitchers in Puerto Rico and then we get (Chris) Archer and Snell here.”
Denard Span drove in three more runs for the Rays, giving him a team-leading 17 RBIs on just 14 hits. Span has led off in 12 of the 13 games he has started. Only one AL player (Oakland’s Jed Lowrie) had more than 17 RBIs going into Saturday’s games.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with migraines, took batting practice and reported that the problem persists, though some of the blurred vision and dizziness have subsided.
Rays: 3B Matt Duffy (strained right hamstring) took ground balls, and the Rays are hopeful he will come off the 10-day disabled list during their upcoming nine-game trip.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes will pitch Sunday’s series finale, becoming Minnesota’s fifth pitcher to start a game this season.
Rays: RHP Yonny Chirinos, who has started three “bullpen-day” games, will pitch Sunday and is now “penciled in to pitch every fifth day,” Cash said.
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