Wilson learns of Stadium the hard way
Lefty surrenders late homer in rubber-game loss to Yanks
NEW YORK -- C.J. Wilson calmly stood on the mound and watched in earnest as Melky Cabrera's ball soared toward left field, thinking confidently he had just induced the first out of the inning. Calmness quickly became worry as left fielder David Murphy started drifting back to the fence.
Suddenly, drifting turned to sprinting, sprinting to leaping and leaping to disappointment, as the ball dropped in the stands, just out of Murphy's reach. It was a two-run home run to break a tie in the eighth, and Wilson had run the emotional spectrum in a matter of seconds -- from confidence to utter disbelief.
For the past two days, the Rangers have maintained the new Yankee Stadium has played fair during this series. But Wilson was victimized from a home run that he believed may have been a product of the ballpark Thursday afternoon, which sent Texas to an 8-6 loss to New York in front of 45,713.
"I was like, 'Oh, popup,'" Wilson said. "That's why I didn't really react. I was like, 'Oh, OK, fly ball -- oh [man], I forgot where we are. That's not good.'"
Wilson's tough outing came hours after Ron Washington praised his lefty reliever for how he has pitched of late. Wilson struck out Alex Rodriguez with the game on the line in Texas' 4-2 win on Wednesday.
Cabrera's game-winning home run took center stage, but the Rangers held an early four-run lead on Thursday and seem poised for their second-straight victory. Starter Brandon McCarthy allowed just one run through the first four innings and seemed to have the powerful Yankees lineup under control.
Then came the fifth inning. The first five Yankees batters reached base to begin the frame, before McCarthy was pulled in favor of reliever of Jason Jennings. Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena led off with consecutive singles, and McCarthy walked Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher.
That set up the crushing blow: A three-run inside-out double by Mark Teixeira that bounced down the left-field line. All told, the Yankees scored five runs in the fifth to take a 6-5 lead and end McCarthy's day after just four-plus innings.
"It seemed like he just lost his location and couldn't throw the ball over the plate like he was earlier," Washington said. "In baseball, that happens."
McCarthy had a different explanation for his fifth-inning meltdown. Despite the two walks, he thought his control was not the problem. He credited the Yankees hitters for their plate discipline and particularly cited the fourth ball to Swisher, which he said he expected Swisher to swing at.
After the game, Wilson stressed that he threw a bad pitch, regardless of the ballpark. It was a changeup that he hoped Cabrera would bang on the ground for a double play, but it stayed up. Nevertheless, he couldn't help but wonder what could have been if the Rangers were playing anywhere else.
"He hit it to the best part of the park to hit that particular ball," Wilson said. "I thought Murphy had a shot at it. That's the game. Bad pitch."
Jared Diamond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.