C.J. Wilson really wanted to pitch against the Texas Rangers, so much so that he became the first major leaguer to start consecutive games since 2002.
After the rain-interrupted series opener, in which he faced only five batters against his former team, Wilson worked into the sixth inning Saturday to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-2 win over Texas.
"I did a lot of homework and stuff, and wanted to put it to use," said Wilson, insisting that it wasn't personal facing the team he pitched for in the last two World Series.
"Emotionally, I had a dry run [Friday] to see what it was going to feel like and hear the fans and their colorful insights on me, and my career and whatnot," he said. "I'm just trying to get the hitters out."
Wilson was gone before Kendrys Morales had a pinch-hit, tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh.
David Carpenter (1-1) faced only two batters after replacing Wilson with two outs in the sixth. Ernesto Frieri, acquired from San Diego on May 3, worked 1 2/3 innings and Scott Downs got the final out for his third save. But it was Wilson who really saved them.
"It was a great bounce-back win. A long night last night, you can't say enough for what C.J. did," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Sometimes it sounds simple, but you have to go out there and pitch and execute. He pitched his heart out getting that deep into the game against a lineup that is really hitting the ball well."
Wilson struck out four and walked three, while allowing two runs and five hits on 93 pitches in 5 2/3 innings.
The last major leaguer to start consecutive games was Aaron Myette for Texas on Sept. 3 and 4, 2002, at Baltimore. Myette was ejected from the first game after only two pitches. It was the first time an Angels pitcher started back-to-back games.
Josh Hamilton hit his major-league leading 18th homer -- his ninth in six games. That solo blast in the sixth tied the game at 2 after he had already been struck out twice by Wilson.
Hamilton, who hit two homers Friday night after a four-homer game Tuesday in Baltimore, leads the majors with a .402 batting average, 18 homers and 41 RBIs.
The second game of the series was the earliest ever at the 18-year-old Rangers Ballpark. The 12:07 p.m. start came only 12 hours after Friday night's game ended.
Mark Trumbo had a towering two-run homer for the Angels off Matt Harrison (4-3).
In his return to Texas, Wilson threw only 22 pitches Friday before a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay in the first inning of the Rangers' 10-3 victory. The left-hander was charged with four runs after allowing three infield singles and a walk, but didn't return once the rain stopped.
"Outstanding performance, especially considering what he had to deal with coming back on zero days' rest," Trumbo said. "He kept us in the game."