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TB@TEX: Wilson superb, fans eight in win over Rays

ARLINGTON -- C.J. Wilson's start on Thursday in the Rangers' 7-2 win over the Rays is a study in how difficult it is to have a truly historic outing in the Major Leagues.

Wilson overpowered the first 15 batters, striking out seven of them, getting six to hit harmless fly balls and retiring the other two on weak grounders. He was feeling as good as he'd ever felt when Casey Kotchman hit a chopper to his left, and he reached with his bare hand and deflected it for an infield single.

"I will second-guess that Casey Kotchman at-bat for the rest of my career," Wilson said.

Not only had Wilson lost his perfect game and no-hitter, he also lost his control. He reported after the game that his finger was numb after the deflection.

"It's kind of hard to throw with a numb finger," he said. "It's kind of like trying to drive with only one eye. You don't have that depth perception; you can't get that feel for the ball."

From there, Wilson retired two of the five batters he faced before being pulled.

"He was perfect. He couldn't do any better," Ian Kinsler said. "He was pretty dominant. He was using his fastball to both sides of the plate, striking guys out with his offspeed stuff and running his fastball up, getting strikeouts that way. He was dominating, and it's tough to see that ball go off his hand, but when you've got a perfect game on the line, you do what it takes."

After Kotchman's single, Wilson allowed a solo home run to Kelly Shoppach, hit one batter and walked another.

When pitching coach Mike Maddux visited the mound to check on his starter, he soon decided that Wilson should not pitch anymore and brought in Koji Uehara to relieve Wilson after just 88 pitches.

That is the second fewest pitches Wilson has thrown all season, and the eighth fewest since he became a full-time starter.

"He was real good until he took that ball off his finger," manager Ron Washington said. "He had good sink, a good slider, real crispness on his fastball, throwing it around the zone, he was real sharp."

Though Washington and Wilson both said that the finger is fine and that he will make his next start, Wilson will always wonder about what could have been.

"He had no-hit stuff. We were getting bad swings, and his stuff was jumping," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You'd have to ask him to what extent the ball off his hand affected the rest of his night. Because then he just got real shotgun with everything. Prior to that he was spot on."

Kinsler and the rest of the Rangers' offense made sure Wilson would at least get a win for his efforts.

Adrian Beltre, playing his first game since returning from a strained left hamstring, scored from first base on a double by David Murphy, the first of three runs the team would score in the second inning.

"I felt OK," Beltre said. "I didn't force it at all. That's all I want to do. I don't want to put any extra effort on it, so I kept the same pace, and it worked."

From there the team scored four more runs, mostly on the strength of three home runs --two by Kinsler and one by Michael Young.

Most notable to Washington was the second homer by Kinsler, which landed in the batter's eye in deep center field.

"I've always had a joke with him that he couldn't hit a home run to center field," Washington said. "Can't even do it in [batting practice], and here he does it in a game. He's got pop to left field, no pop to right and no pop to center, but he proved all that wrong tonight."

The pair could be seen sharing a laugh as Kinsler returned to the dugout.

"He was smiling at me," Kinsler said. "He calls me Bootsie, and he said '[Dang], Bootsie, I didn't know you could go out that way.'"

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