ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) C.J. Wilson really wanted to pitch against the Texas Rangers, so much so that he became the first major leaguer since 2002 to start consecutive games.
After the rain-interrupted series opener when he faced only five batters against his former team, Wilson worked into the sixth inning Saturday to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-2 win over Texas.
“I did a lot of homework and stuff, and wanted to put it to use,” said Wilson, insisting that it wasn’t personal facing the team he pitched for in the last two World Series.
“Emotionally, I had a dry run (Friday) to see what it was going to feel like and hear the fans and their colorful insights on me, and my career and whatnot,” he said. “I’m just trying to get the hitters out.”
Wilson was gone before Kendrys Morales had a pinch-hit, tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh.
David Carpenter (1-1) faced only two batters after replacing Wilson with two outs in the sixth. Ernesto Frieri, acquired from San Diego on May 3, worked 1 2-3 innings and Scott Downs got the final out for his third save.
But it was Wilson who really saved them.
“It was a great bounce-back win. A long night last night, you can’t say enough for what C.J. did,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Sometimes it sounds simple, but you have to go out there and pitch and execute. … He pitched his heart out getting that deep into the game against a lineup that is really hitting the ball well.”
Josh Hamilton hit his majors-leading 18th homer – the ninth in six games for the Rangers slugger. That solo blast in the sixth tied the game at 2 after he had already struck out twice against Wilson.
“C.J. did a good job. He’s one of those guys you don’t know what he’s going to throw,” Hamilton said. “He really doesn’t follow any kind of pattern or get into a routine.”
Hamilton, who hit two homers Friday night after a four-homer game Tuesday in Baltimore, leads the majors with a .402 batting average, 18 homers and 41 RBIs.
The second game of the series was the earliest ever at the 18-year-old Rangers Ballpark. The 12:07 p.m. start came only 12 hours after Friday night’s game ended.
Mark Trumbo had a towering two-run homer for the Angels off Matt Harrison (4-3), who had five strikeouts and two walks in six-plus innings.
After Trumbo walked and Howie Kendrick reached on a bunt single to chase Harrison, Peter Bourjos bunted for a hit to load the bases. Morales then hit a flyball to left for a 3-2 lead, John Hester had an infield single and Mike Trout added another sac fly.
In his return to Texas, Wilson threw only 22 pitches Friday night before a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay in the first inning of the Rangers’ 10-3 victory. The left-hander was charged with four runs after allowing three infield singles and a walk, but didn’t return once the rain stopped.
“It was difficult, but being a reliever for so long, I guess you develop a sort of I-have-to-pitch-tomorrow routine,” Wilson said. “I guess I did enough convincing in Mike’s office last night.”
Wilson, who signed as a free agent last winter with his hometown Angels, walked his first two batters Saturday before Hamilton struck out and Adrian Beltre hit into a double play.
“Outstanding performance, especially considering what he had to deal with coming back on zero days’ rest,” Trumbo said. “He kept us in the game and allowed us to get where we are now.”
Wilson bounced an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the fifth that hit Napoli, the catcher whose phone number Wilson put on Twitter as a prank during spring training. Brandon Snyder and Craig Gentry followed with consecutive singles to cut the gap to 2-1.
Wilson struck out four and walked three, while allowing two runs and five hits on 93 pitches in 5 2-3 innings.
The last major leaguer to start consecutive games was Aaron Myette for Texas on Sept. 3 and 4, 2002, at Baltimore. Myette was ejected from the first game after only two pitches. It was the first time an Angels pitcher started back-to-back games.
In the fourth, Trumbo pulled a 420-foot blast off the facade of the second deck of seats in left field. His fifth homer came after Torii Hunter drew a two-out walk.
Notes: Trumbo played 1B while Albert Pujols was the DH. It was the second Saturday in a row Trumbo homered while playing 1B. Pujols was 1 for 3 with a walk. He is hitting .195 in his 33 games in Los Angeles, with one homer and 11 RBIs. … Rangers SS Elvis Andrus was called out twice on close plays at first base. At the end of the seventh, he slammed his helmet to the ground and screamed at first-base umpire Dan Belino. He wasn’t ejected. … Opposing RHPs were 0 for 28 against Texas reliever Alexi Ogando before Bourjos’ bunt in the seventh. … Both teams wore replica 1974 uniforms. The Rangers are marking their 40th anniversary in Texas. Jeff Burroughs, the 1974 AL MVP for Texas, took part in the first-pitch ceremony. … The last Texas home game that started earlier was April 18, 1992, a 12:03 p.m. game against Oakland at old Arlington Stadium. … The Rangers had their eighth consecutive sellout.