Ranger reax: Wilson starts, Francisco ends

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
10:32
PM CT
ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter C.J. Wilson doesn't mind a sticky situation. He'd prefer, of course, to simply mow down the opposing lineup and not worry about pitching with runners in scoring position or the bases loaded. But coming out of the bullpen the last few years, Wilson knows a thing or two about pitching in a high-stress situation.

"I know what I have to do to get out of it," Wilson said.

That was on display in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 4-2 win over the White Sox. Wilson committed a major pitching sin: He hit the leadoff batter on an 0-2 pitch.

"I was upset with myself for that," Wilson said.

A few singles and a walk later, the bases were loaded with two outs and the Rangers clinging to a one-run lead. Wilson fell behind catcher Donny Lucy, the No. 8 hitter, 3-0. That's when his competitive juices started bubbling.

"I'm not going to give in," Wilson said. "I blieve in myself and in my control. Once I got back to 3-2, I knew I had a chance to get him out.

Catcher Matt Treanor, who drove in three of the Rangers' four runs, said the key pitch was the fastball that earned a strike 2 call from the umpire.

"It was a pitch on the corner and that allowed him to throw some fastballs the rest of the at-bat," Treanor said.

Wilson threw some cutters and sinkers and finally struck out Lucy, leaving the bases full and preserving the Rangers' lead. They added an insurance run on a Justin Smoak sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning and went on to win 4-2.

Wilson said he's pleased with how he's started the season -- the first Rangers starter to have four quality starts to begin a season since 1993 when Charlie Leibrandt and Kevin Brown both did it. But he also wants to just continue to build on the previous start.

Once the interviews were over, Wilson smiled and wanted to talk about Lost, his favorite TV show. Wilson likes the mystery and twists that surround the characters and episodes. But it's no mystery why he's having success right now: solid control, lots of confidence and the ability to get through six innings each night.

"I've been in the bullpen and getting up or throwing every day," said Wilson, who allowed two runs in six innings. "The bullpen has worked hard this year, anytime we can save them a little is good."

Other reaction:

* RHP Frank Francisco said he feels much better on the mound now than he did earlier in the season when he blew two save chances in the first week. Francisco's fastball was in the low 90s, but he spotted it well and used his off-speed and breaking stuff. "I feel way better," Francisco said. "My control is there and I was locating my split. Everything is about location. If I locate, I'll be fine.

Manager Ron Washington said any one of a group of pitchers could close games, though he added that Neftali Feliz is still his closer. Stay tuned.

* Washington was pleased with his outfield defense on Tuesday. Josh Hamilton had a couple of nice throws to hold runners and so did Vladimir Guerrero, who threw home from deep in right field to keep Paul Konerko at third, where he was stranded in the sixth.

* Washington said he'll treat Max Ramirez much like he did Taylor Teagarden in terms of splitting time with Matt Treanor at catcher. "As long as Matt Treanor is looking good, I'll run him out there," Washington said. "But Max will get some time."

Treanor said his job is to grind out at-bats, see as many pitches as he can and to get the pitchers through games.

* Washington was also pleased with Dustin Nippert, who went two scoreless innings and really had his curve ball and changeup working. "All his pitchers were working," Washington said. "He really picked us up."

* ESPN Stats & Information filed some quick notes for us: White Sox have their 3-game win streak snapped. Rangers have won 5 of their last 6 against the White Sox. Mark Buehrle suffers 100th career loss. He's 4-10 since throwing his perfect game. Catcher Matt Treanor had 2 hits, 3 RBI for a Rangers team whose catchers entered hitting .145. Treanor's HR was his first since July 4. First 3 hitters in White Sox lineup were combined 0-10.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182