Rangers' Wilson good enough in possibly last start
When C.J. Wilson walked off the mound during the sixth inning in what could have been his last start for the Texas Rangers, they were down by a run.
This time, it was good enough for the Rangers.
Despite another sometimes erratic outing against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wilson kept Texas close enough in another matchup against Chris Carpenter.
The Rangers tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, took the lead in the eighth and are now one win from the franchise's first World Series title after a 4-2 victory Monday night to take a 3-2 series lead.
Winless this post-season (0-3, 6.08 ERA in five starts) after winning 16 games as the Rangers' No. 1 starter in the regular season, Wilson walked five batters, threw a wild pitch and had a fielding error. Two of Wilson's walks in Game 5 were intentional passes to slugger Albert Pujols.
And the Rangers still trailed only 2-1 when the free agent-to-be lefty exited with one out and one on in the sixth. Wilson's 108th and last pitch was a single by David Freese.
"I've had a lot of experience the last couple of years for better or worse, whether it was my fault or bad bounces or whatever, but I've been out there for some really wacky situations," Wilson said. "I'm not going to let that beat me. I'm not going to let that discourage me at all."
St. Louis got both of its runs in the second, an inning that started with consecutive walks to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. Holliday had already slid headfirst into second base after Wilson threw a wild pitch that bounced at the feet of Berkman and got away from catcher Mike Napoli.
After Freese hit a fly ball, Yadier Molina had an RBI single to left before Skip Schumaker drove in another run with a groundball for a 2-0 lead.
Rafael Furcal then opened the third with a bunt single. He went to second base after Wilson, who had slipped coming off the mound, picked up the ball with his bare hand and tried to flip it with a backhanded motion. The ball barely got off the ground and rolled past first baseman Mitch Moreland for an error.
Wilson escaped unscathed that inning when, after an intentional free pass to Pujols, Holliday grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"C.J., he's a workhorse. Even if he doesn't have his stuff that night, he's going to do whatever he can to keep his team in the game," said Moreland, who had a long homer in the third. "He's been a great, great guy to play behind for us as our No. 1 through the year. Tonight kind of proved it. It might not have been his best night, he might not have had his stuff or his location, but he kept us in the game. That's what he's going to do."
In Game 1 of the World Series on the road, Wilson had a Rangers post-season-high six walks (two intentional). He gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings, but left with the game tied 2-all before Texas lost 3-2.
The 11 walks by Wilson in this World Series are the most since Allie Reynolds had 11 for the 1951 Yankees, according to STATS Inc. His 19 walks in the playoffs match Jaret Wright's mark set in 1997 for the most in a single post-season.