Wilson stars before Cron's HR forces tie with Dodgers
Prospect knocks three-run homer in ninth inning to knot game up vs. rival
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Former teammates Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson each twirled four scoreless innings and Scott Van Slyke hit a grand slam, but prospect C.J. Cron's three-run homer helped the Angels force a 4-4 tie at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Thursday.
Starting the sixth inning of a scoreless game, Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa walked A.J. Ellis, uncorked a wild pitch, hit Hanley Ramirez and gave up a single to Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases. The next batter, Van Slyke, who's competing for a spot off the Dodgers' bench, took a 1-2 fastball out to left field to give the Dodgers a four-run lead.
Three batters later -- after a groundout, a walk, a stolen base and a popout -- De La Rosa left the game with right forearm tightness.
Mike Trout almost had an inside-the-park home run in the first inning. The Angels' 22-year-old center fielder hit a line drive to straightaway center field that Yasiel Puig came up short on with a dive attempt, allowing the ball to trickle to the fence. But Puig got it in quickly and Ramirez's relay throw just beat Trout to home plate, with instant replay upholding the out call from umpire Pat Hoberg.
Trout's hit was one of only three given up by Haren, the former Angels pitcher who didn't issue a walk, struck out three and put his Cactus League ERA at 1.50.
Wilson pitched four hitless innings in his second Spring Training start, issuing two walks and striking out four while focusing on establishing his changeup.
"Today I felt like I had my rhythm," Wilson said. "I was nice and loose, I wasn't trying to muscle the ball. I was just relaxed and trying to be more rhythmic out there, and that helped out."
Puig was removed from Wednesday night's 10-3 win over the Reds with soreness in his upper back, but started on Thursday and went 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot. De La Rosa's fastball almost caught Ramirez where he previously broke a rib, but instead hit him in the left triceps and the Dodgers' shortstop said he was fine.
Second baseman Howie Kendrick, now batting .400 on the spring, had two hits, as did first baseman Carlos Pena and third baseman Ian Stewart -- both competing for spots off the Angels' bench.
Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, with two on and one out against Dodgers reliever Daniel Moskos, Cron, the Angels' top power-hitting prospect, lofted a three-run, pinch-hit homer way over the left-field fence to tie the game at 4. One inning later, it ended by that score.
Up next: The Angels play their first split-squad game of the spring on Friday, with Hector Santiago slated to start opposite Cubs righty James McDonald at Tempe Diablo Stadium and Joe Blanton taking the ball against Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Santiago and Blanton are slated to go four innings in their second Cactus League outings. Santiago, projected as the No. 3 starter, gave up one unearned run on one hit, two walks and three strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings in his debut. Blanton, not projected to make the rotation, gave up two runs to the first three batters, but then retired seven of the next eight. The Angels' game against the Cubs can be seen locally on Prime Ticket, and both are available on MLB.TV.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.