No, right-hander Brian Wilson of the Los Angeles Dodgers does not have an infinite ERA after his outing Sunday night. It's true that he threw 25 pitches to five San Diego Padres batters and retired none of them after being handed a one-run lead in the eighth inning. And it's true that three of them scored, and two of them were earned runs, in San Diego's 3-1 victory at Petco Park.
But it's only the stateside opener for the Dodgers, who played two games already in Australia, with Wilson pitching a scoreless inning Down Under. That means his ERA has an end — at 18.00.
Wilson started out shaky by getting behind pinch-hitter Seth Smith with a 2-0 count. The third pitch was a hanging slider that made the seats in right field for a tying home run in Smith's first career appearance for the Padres. It also mooted the effort of Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed three hits and struck out seven over seven innings after getting the start for an ailing Clayton Kershaw.
Via the Associated Press, Wilson said:
Wilson said it was tough to deal with because Ryu ''pitched such a marvelous game. It's a hard one to swallow.''
He said he threw a pitch ''that was a little bit uncharacteristic of me. Right then and there, the tire deflated.''
Rather than locking it down from there, Wilson walked Yasmani Grandal and then botched Everth Cabrera's sacrifice bunt attempt by swiping at the slow roller with his glove for an error. Grandal and Cabrera promptly stole second and third, respectively, and came home on a two-run, go-ahead single by Chris Denorfia.
Grandal's steal of third was the first of his professional career, including the minors, a span of 1,089 plate appearances coming in.
Chase Headley reached on another error — this one by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez — and manager Don Mattingly removed Wilson. Chris Perez and Paco Rodriguez combined for three strikeouts to finish the inning and keep the score where it was, but the Dodgers offense couldn't retaliate in the ninth against closer Huston Street.
LAD top five tonight -- Crawford, Puig, Hanley, Gonzalez, Ethier -- 1-19 with a walk. Hooray.— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) March 31, 2014
The "1" in there was Carl Crawford, whose soft RBI single in the fourth scored Dee Gordon against Andrew Cashner to give L.A. a 1-0 lead until Wilson entered.
Ryu had been brilliant, but Mattingly said he was at his limit after throwing 88 pitches. And that's why the Dodgers brought back Wilson to bridge their starters to closer Kenley Jansen. After recovering from a second Tommy John surgery in 2012, Wilson was terrific in 2013 — albeit over 13 2/3 innings, plus the playoffs — for L.A. a season ago. They owe him as much as $19 million over the next two seasons, and he's got plenty of time to iron out the kinks (and perhaps shave his head).
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