Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/12/12
ARLINGTON, Texas Even the most interesting pitcher in the world has his limits. Former Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson's homecoming was interrupted Friday by a two-hour rain delay after he'd given up a run on three infield singles and a walk. Wilson called it a night after 22 pitches, but his replacement in the Rangers' rotation, Yu Darvish, returned to the mound and lasted long enough to earn his fifth win. Fans who endured the delay serenaded the pitcher with a thunderous "Yuuuuuuuu!" as he walked toward right field with his interpreter and bullpen catcher. He pointed his glove toward left field, where Angels starter Jerome Williams was preparing to replace Wilson. Darvish expressed disappointment that Wilson wouldn't finish the game, according to a team official. By the time he took the mound in the top of the second inning, the Rangers had a 6-0 lead. He embarrassed Angels right-handed slugger Mark Trumbo with a wicked slider to start the inning and retired the next two hitters on lazy fly balls to right field. He stayed loose during the delay by throwing every 15 minutes. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Darvish never gave any consideration to leaving the game. You would think that a veteran major-league pitcher such as Wilson might have a better chance of returning after a long delay than Darvish, but that wasn't the case Friday. The Angels decided to cut their losses with Wilson and bring him back to start Saturday's game against Matt Harrison. He was long gone when the game ended four hours and 58 minutes after first pitch. Darvish only gave up three hits in 5 13 innings, although two of them were home runs. His slider completely fooled right-handed hitters (poor Trumbo), and he finished off Albert Pujols with a high fastball to begin the sixth inning. He gave up three runs, three walks and struck out seven. His willingness to stay in the game saved the Rangers from having to use Scott Feldman in long relief. The Angels were forced to burn Saturday's scheduled starter, Williams, who was battered for six runs on 11 hits during an 111-pitch relief performance. Wilson was charged with four runs in his 13 of an inning. But he could've escaped with no damage had second baseman Howie Kendrick been able to turn a double play on a sharply hit ball off the bat of Adrian Beltre. Wilson heard his first round of boos as he warmed up in the bullpen before the game. Then fans really let him have it as he jogged to the mound in the first inning. It would've been great theater to see him attempt to pitch out of that first-inning jam, but at least fans will have another opportunity to boo him now. Washington didn't bump into Wilson on Friday, but he plans to catch up with him before Saturday's game. The Rangers manager was thoroughly impressed with Darvish's determination to remain in Friday's game. "This is a weird thing that we did," Washington told FOXSportsSouthwest.com. "But this guy was committed to pitching tonight. This guy is an absolute winner." Darvish had his usual pre-game meeting with starting catcher Yorvit Torrealba to go over the game plan. But Torrealba left the game after the rain delay because of a contusion he suffered when Pujols' shattered bat hit him on the follow-through in the first inning. Darvish spent part of the delay going over the game plan with catcher Mike Napoli, who moved over from first base. Darvish said the ball actually felt better leaving his hand after the 1-hour, 56-minute delay. We've now seen him recover from a near-disastrous start against the Seattle Mariners and a long rain delay against the Angels. He claims that he doesn't yet "grasp" the magnitude of this A.L. West rivalry, but you couldn't tell it by watching his performance. Even when he gave up a two-run homer to Mike Trout in the third inning, it didn't seem to faze Darvish. He's certainly had more efficient outings this season, but none rivaled this one in terms of toughness. Now, we'll see if the Rangers can beat Wilson on consecutive days. After a little sleep, the boo birds should be ready to go.
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