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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A busy night for C.J. Wilson

By Calvin Watkins

HOUSTON -- Tuesday night was not about Rangers ace C.J. Wilson's pitching.

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Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson joins Ben and Skin to discuss his first career major league hit and his recent success on the mound.

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Though he did earn his eighth win of the season and first since June 10 in the 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros, it was his hitting that stole the show.

For the record, Wilson allowed two runs -- both earned -- on seven hits in seven innings of work. He walked two and struck out three while throwing 104 pitches.

Afterward, there were more discussions about Wilson's bat.

He got the Rangers offense going with a leadoff triple in the third inning. It was Wilson's first career hit, and the ball went into the deepest part of Minute Maid Park, right-center field.

Before the game, Wilson told slugger Josh Hamilton he was going to get a hit and if he did, he was doing the claw.

So after Wilson reached third base with his triple, his teammates yelled at him for the signature claw and antlers hand signs, made famous during the Rangers' postseason run last year.

Surprisingly, Wilson was being shown on the huge video board in right-center field when he displayed the claw sign toward the Rangers dugout, followed up by the antlers sign.

At first, the contingent of Rangers fans started cheering, but then the majority of fans, cheering for the Astros we assume, started to boo.

"That's cool. You're going to get animosity on the road," Wilson said. "That's part of baseball. You’re not going to get love everywhere."

It was a pretty physical night for Wilson. In the second inning, he got hit on the top of the foot while trying to prevent a ball from going past the mound on a grounder from Chris Johnson.

Wilson said the foot was hurting a little as he ran around the bases in the third inning.

However in the fourth inning, Jeff Keppinger hit a bouncer past the mound that Wilson reached out for with his left hand. The ball hit his left index finger. Wilson appeared to be OK, but he threw one pitch, a sinker, that was called a ball. Wilson was looked at by manager Ron Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddox and head trainer Jamie Reed after throwing one pitch.

Wilson threw three warmup pitches and was fine. But the damage was done. His index finger was numb for the majority of the game, giving him problems when he tried to throw his sinker.

"I had to adjust after I got hit by a ball in the finger," Wilson said. "I couldn’t throw a sinker the rest of the game pretty much, so it’s a huge pitch for me, and to take it out of the equation puts me behind in a lot of ways."

Wilson said the finger got better around the seventh.

As for the triple, Wilson said the ball he hit will go in a vault.

"The highlight of my baseball career, I think," he said.