ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was an emotionally-charged C.J. Wilson who took the mound against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
The pre-game tribute to 9/11 responders on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks got to Wilson.
“I was really emotional before the game,’’ Wilson said. “Something like that puts everything in perspective.
“The temperature read 94 degrees, but it didn’t feel that hot. It felt perfect. All those fans wanted to see a win.’’
A sellout crowd of 46,727 watched Texas defeat Oakland, 8-1 at Rangers Ballpark.
“The defense played awesome behind me. Josh [Hamilton] ran down a ball in left that is a home run in a lot of parks. Everything today was just coming together and I feel like all the conditioning and work is paying off.’’
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he expects nothing less from C.J.
“He’s our No. 1 guy,’’ Washington said.
Wilson’s victory, his 16th of the season, is a career high.
The 30-year-old left-hander threw eight shutout inning, allowing five hits and a walk, while fanning 11, just one shy of his career strikeout high. It marked the sixth time this season Wilson has had games with 10-plus strikeouts, the most since Nolan Ryan did it six times in 1991.
“I used six different pitches today and they all worked,’’ Wilson said. “The biggest thing for me today was being efficient with pitches.’’
There’s a sense of urgency now with the Angels 2 1/2 games back and playing well.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks left and it’s the entire season for us,’’ Wilson said. “The one thought I have is to win every single game I pitch.’’