Cron powers red-hot Rays to 9th win in 10 tries

First baseman finishes triple shy of cycle as Tampa Bay tops Atlanta

August 29th, 2018

ATLANTA -- Tampa Bay scored early and often during an 8-5 win against Atlanta on Wednesday night at SunTrust Park.

The Rays earned a split of their two-game series with the Braves and moved to 71-62 on the season by claiming their ninth win in 10 games.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 41 minutes, and returned to interrupt play in the middle of the sixth inning for another 65 minutes.

C.J. Cron ignited Tampa Bay's offense with three hits, including a home run -- his 25th of the season -- that broke a 3-3 tie when he led off the third.

"I think my power's been pretty good this year," said Cron, who establishes a season-high for homers with each home run. "It's the best of my career. I'm just going to try and keep putting good swings on the ball and wherever it goes, it goes."

Cron fell a triple short of the cycle.

While Cron is having his best Major League season, he has seen his playing time limited a bit due to the Rays' desire to watch and evaluate myriad players this season. Kevin Cash told reporters last week he had talked to Cron about the situation, and Tampa Bay's manager complimented Cron for the way he's responded.

"He's handled himself like a pro," Cash said. "It's appreciated. It's not easy. It doesn't always make sense to a player. I understand all of those things, but we have to find some stuff out about position players. And we're jammed up with a bunch of guys who can play first. A bunch of guys who can DH. That's the way it goes sometimes. … You know what? Good problem to have."

Cron agreed he's not wild about the situation, but added that he understands.

"Everybody wants to play," Cron said. "We're competitors at the end of the day. We want to play and have as many at-bats as possible. But at the same time, [Cash] explained the situation to me. And when they're straightforward like that, it's hard to question anything.

"You have to be thankful you're in the big leagues and always try to get better. And try to prove that you belong in the big leagues and get every-day at-bats."

Tommy Pham added a two-run homer in the fourth, and the Rays added a pair of runs in the fifth to push the lead to 8-3.

Joey Wendle had a two-run single and followed with an RBI knock to give the Rays a 3-0 lead in the first. answered with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 3.

SOUND SMART

The Rays are normally considered a team built on pitching and defense, but the team has averaged 6.38 runs over its past eight games.

"We're clicking. I think it's just, right now, it seems like everybody's contributing," said Wendle, who went 2-for-4, scored twice and drove in two Wednesday. "Getting hits when we need to."

RAYS VS. BRAVES

The Rays improved to 11-21 (.343) in 32 games against the Braves in franchise history. Tampa Bay entered Wednesday night's game with a .323 winning percentage all-time against the Atlanta, their worst against any opponent. With Wednesday night's win, the Rays' all-time winning percentage against the Braves is now better than their all-time winning percentage against the Reds (.333).

UP NEXT

will start Friday night when the Rays open a three-game series against the Indians in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Progressive Field. He is 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA and 32 strikeouts in five starts with the Rays. According to Statcast™, his max velocity is 99.4 mph. Right-hander (16-7, 2.91 ERA) will start for Cleveland.