Blister ends Wilson's Fall Classic debut
Lefty available to pitch again if Rangers can get to Game 6
SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the Bay Area sky and all of its stars fell on them in the form of a 9-0 embarrassment, the Rangers couldn't have asked for anything more from C.J. Wilson.
Following Cliff Lee to the AT&T Park mound in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday, Wilson was more Lee than Lee. Wilson, the lefty from the beaches of Southern California, rode clean waves into the fifth inning, when Edgar Renteria got into a fastball and lifted it into the seats in left field.
It was pretty much the only thing Wilson did wrong before developing a blister on the middle finger of his left hand while walking Cody Ross on 10 pitches leading off the seventh inning, forcing his exit and the end of his lively duel with Matt Cain.
"My finger just ripped open," said Wilson, who had used Super Glue to patch it back together after the second inning. "It was closed, then it was open on the second pitch to Ross. I couldn't throw the fastball after that.
"If I could have glued it back together, I could have kept pitching. It ripped open on the side, and that's where the blood came out.
"I'll glue it back together tonight and it will be healed up in a day or two. I'll be fine."
A bigger issue is how difficult it will be to stitch up the Rangers and their collective ego after the bruising it absorbed for two nights.
As Wilson nursed the cut on his middle finger, the Giants scored once against Darren Oliver on a bloop single by Juan Uribe. Then came an eighth inning so ugly it had television sets shutting off all across the Lone Star State.
It was difficult even for the Rangers to watch the finish of a blowout that sends them home needing a Game 3 win on Saturday for sustenance.
"We were just bad," Oliver said. "What can you say? We've got to go home and get this straightened out fast."
Eight consecutive Giants reached safely, four in a dizzying row on walks, during a seven-run eighth inning that was even worse from the Rangers' viewpoint than the six-run fifth in Game 1.
"I'm not surprised," said Wilson, a grim-faced spectator amid all the noise in the eighth. "When you walk a bunch of guys, that's what happens."
Digging deep, the good news from the Texas side is that it counted for only one win and the Giants need two more before they're crowned champions of the baseball universe.
As for Wilson, there's nothing wrong with the tip of his left middle finger that some Super Glue can't -- and won't -- fix.
Wilson hopes he gets another shot at the Giants in Game 6. The show will have to come back to San Francisco for that to happen, and the Rangers clearly need to tighten some screws very quickly.
"We're not playing to our potential now," Wilson said. "We're not playing the kind of baseball that got us here. We're looking at each other and it's like, 'It's going like [waste].' We're better than this."
As for his own performance, Wilson maintained that he felt in full command throughout -- and the numbers supported his view. He yielded just three hits and two walks while striking out four hitters.
Even the Renteria blow, despite its flight and landing, wasn't that bad a delivery.
"Strategically, it was a mistake," Wilson said, meaning he should have thrown something other than a fastball with an 0-1 count. "The location wasn't that bad. Oliver struck him out with the same pitch in his next at-bat [in the seventh].
"It was up and in, and he just turned on it. It's where I wanted it."
Catcher Matt Treanor praised Wilson's ability to keep the Giants off-balance with his full repertoire. As for the delivery to Renteria, it was not as precise as it could have been, Treanor added.
"It was not so much that it was up," Treanor said. "We probably wanted it a little closer to his hands. He turned on it, got the fat part of his bat on it."
Wilson has been having problems with the finger for a while. He glued it back together after the second inning, he said, but there was nothing he could do once the blood started flowing and he walked Ross with pitch No. 101.
"It's frustrating for me, because I want to write down some ideas," Wilson said when asked what Texas needs to do to cool down the National League champs. "I felt like I had complete control. They hit one ball hard. A home run is a home run. You don't get an asterisk. He hit the ball over the fence."
Darren O'Day, who struck out the first two hitters in the eighth before the floodgates opened on Buster Posey's scratch single, was impressed by Wilson's effort.
"C.J. was really good," O'Day said. "It's a shame we wasted such a quality performance. This wasn't like us, the way things came apart there."
Manager Ron Washington expects Wilson to be revved and ready for another assignment.
"This blister is something he's been dealing with all year," Washington said. "He'll put some glue on it and do whatever he has to do to close it up. It just split on him tonight. I thought C.J. pitched well."
While praising his own starter, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that Cain had to be able with Wilson dealing premium stuff as well.
"This was a big game," Bochy said. "[Cain] goes out there [and does well], and we needed it, because Wilson was throwing the ball very well."
The Rangers' bullpen, having unraveled in the eighth, might want to borrow some of that Super Glue Wilson has been using to hold his left middle finger together.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.