C.J. Wilson had to deal with the boo birds and colorful comments Friday night. The messages he received on Twitter were worse, even threatening.
But it took about an inning for the disdain of fans at O.co Coliseum for Wilson to peter out. That’s how long the opener of the Texas Rangers’ three-game series against Oakland was competitive.
Michael Young tripled to jump-start a six-run second inning, and Wilson allowed only a run in six innings as the Rangers rolled to a 9-1 victory only two days after Wilson made harsh comments about the stadium’s mound and A’s fans.
All the flak Wilson caught from the announced crowd of 20,288 didn’t distract him, as some Bay Area sports-talk hosts suggested it would. The booing and cursing had the opposite effect.
“You’ve got to make it work for you,” Wilson said after beating Oakland for the second time this season. “You can’t let it get to you. You’re going to pitch on the road. You’re going to pitch in the playoffs. The crowd’s going to be hostile.
“It’s the same thing when you pitch in New York or Boston or Anaheim when they bust out the Rally Monkey. You have to be prepared and insulated for those types of things.”
Wilson caught heat from the time he stepped onto the field to stretch and warm up. The fans booed loudly when he was introduced before the game, and got vocal again before the first inning.
But the Rangers’ offense quickly quieted the crowd against right-hander Brandon McCarthy. Young tripled off the out-of-town scoreboard in right field to open the second and scored as the next hitter, Nelson Cruz, singled.
Cliff Pennington then muffed Mike Napoli’s grounder to open the way for three straight hits. The Rangers had six hits in the inning.
They added three runs to the lead in the fourth. Endy Chavez, who went 3 for 4, provided a scare for Brandon McCarthy with a line drive that struck McCarthy on the outside of his right knee and caromed into foul ground as Chavez went to second base.
McCarthy left the game, limping off the field under his own power, with what was diagnosed as a bruised knee. McCarthy, the former Rangers pitcher, said that X-rays were not taken after an exam showed stability in the knee.
“I just wasn’t right tonight,” he said. “If there was a fitting end to the day, that would probably be it.”
Down 9-0, the A’s couldn’t muster any offense until there were two outs in the sixth. Back-to-back doubles provided the lone run against Wilson, who got Kurt Suzuki to line out to end the threat.
Wilson (11-5) threw 114 pitches, allowing four hits, walking three and striking out seven. He won for the first time in five starts.
“They fell behind early, but they were still able to throw Oakland A’s baseball,” manager Ron Washington said. “They make you work. He ended up having to come out after six, but I thought he did a great job. He gave us a chance.”
On Wednesday, Wilson said that the mound “sucks” at O.co Coliseum and so do the fans. The comments were picked up by local news outlets, and fans peppered Wilson with boos and other commentary early on.
But the six-run second took the starch out of the fans. Wilson wasn’t even booed as he ran off the field after retiring the final batter in the sixth.
“They were very colorful in their distaste with the comments they made, and it actually fired me up a bit,” he said. “It felt like a playoff game out there, having the whole stadium against you.”
How Rangers pitchers fared: C.J. Wilson met more resistance from Oakland fans than Oakland hitters. He allowed a run on four hits in six innings, though he piled up 114 pitches. Mark Lowe worked a perfect eighth and hasn’t allowed a run in his past 12 games.
How Rangers hitters fared: Michael Young (11 games) and Yorvit Torrealba (10 games) extended their hitting streaks in the Rangers’ six-run second inning. Endy Chavez went 3 for 4 and is now hitting .356 (32 for 90) on the road this season.