Wilson rolls, relishes chance to join offense
Lefty fans 9 in 8 strong innings, comes up short trying to stretch single
PHOENIX -- Angels starter C.J. Wilson loves to play Interleague games, where he has an opportunity to flash his competitive edge in places other than the mound.
Wilson's main contribution to Thursday's 7-1 win over the D-backs was his eight innings of one-run ball. But the veteran left-hander was just as enthusiastic about his single and getting to watch teammate Taylor Featherston's first career homer from the on-deck circle.
"You feel like you're more of a part of the team because you're there to high-five the guy when he hits the homer," Wilson said. "That got me super jacked when Featherston hit the homer and I was on deck, it just sounded so solid. I was like, 'Whoa, that was tight.'"
"Solid" is also a way to describe what Wilson has been for the Angels' staff this season. It was the third time he went a season-high eight innings and his second straight win.
Wilson has allowed just one run over his last 15 innings, seeing his ERA drop from 3.92 to 3.39 in the process.
"C.J.'s actually been throwing the ball fairly consistently, there were a couple games that got away from him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he got under swings very well. He was getting the ball over the plate with good life and just pitched a terrific game."
Scioscia was less pleased with Wilson's baserunning blunder, however, which occurred in the fifth inning when he attempted to stretch his two-out single into a double. Wilson was nabbed by D-backs right fielder Yasmany Tomas, but tried an acrobatic slide headfirst into second.
"I'm not going to concede any effort level when I'm out there," Wilson said. "I just want to help the team win. It's just like any other guy in here, if they're going to play their [rear] off and try to play as hard as they can to win the game, I'm the same way."
Although Wilson allowed eight hits, he limited the damage and only once allowed a D-backs baserunner to get past second base. He produced nine strikeouts while walking none.
Wilson also helped end D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's streak of 27 consecutive games reaching base, even striking the slugger out twice. Wilson said the punchout of Goldschmidt in the first inning helped set the tempo for the rest of the game.
"I was fortunate to have really good run support, so I was able to challenge him a couple times," Wilson said. "I was able to kind of kick it up to another gear and either strike the guy out that was batting or use the defense the way we planned it out."