AT THE PLATE: C.J. Cron stroked two opposite-field hits, a third-inning double and fourth-inning single, off right-handers Kyle Lohse and Ariel Pena. With Matt Joyce replacing the sidelined Josh Hamilton in left field, Cron could seize more of a full-time designated hitter role if he can hit right-handers consistently. He hit .255 against right-handers as a rookie last season and .258 against left-handers. "His upside is to hit right-handers as well as left-handers," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's going to take a little experience, but he'll get there."
ON THE MOUND: Hector Santiago followed a 22-pitch first inning with a smooth 11-pitch second in which he retired the side in order. "You throw all those bullpens over the winter and the first two weeks of camp, but this was the first time at game speed," Santiago said. "The adrenaline was flowing, my heart was beating. I fell behind guys in the first inning, but the second inning was better." Left-hander Jose Alvarez threw two scoreless innings to earn the win, and Jeremy McBryde retired the side in order in the ninth.
EXTRA BASES: Catcher Chris Iannetta made a quick and accurate throw to second base to pick off Scooter Gennett to end the first inning and threw out Martin Maldonado trying to steal second in the fifth. ... Garrett Richards, who began light fielding drills Wednesday, will throw to hitters as part of his next mound workout Saturday. "That's an important step," Scioscia said of Richards, who is recovering from left knee surgery and is expected to return in mid-April.
UP NEXT: Colorado Rockies, noon PST at Tempe Diablo Stadium. On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830.