“It’s nice to smile,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Wilson pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Thursday night. “We’ve been on the verge of getting a win. Now the monkey’s off our back, and we can just play.”
Wilson (1-1) earned his first career win as a starter and Oliver got his first save in 498 appearances since 1994. But the Rangers, who had lost six straight, were happy to win in any fashion and happier still to get it against Clay Buchholz(notes), who struck out a career-high 10 and matched shutout innings with Wilson through six.
“The biggest thing is, we got a win,” said Wilson, who allowed four hits and two walks, striking out two before leaving with two on and two outs in the seventh. “When the final out was made, a big weight was lifted off my shoulders and a lot of other people’s as well.”
Nelson Cruz(notes) had two hits and stole two bases—the Rangers’ 13th and 14th in as many tries in the series—and David Murphy(notes) also had a pair of hits as Texas scored three times on three hits and two Boston errors in the seventh to avoid a three-game sweep.
Boston put two on with two outs in the bottom half to end Wilson’s night. But reliever Darren O’Day(notes) got recent call-up Darnell McDonald(notes), who homered in each of the first two games of the series, on a grounder to third to end the inning.
“It’s not like I’m going for a milestone like 800 saves,” Oliver said. “Our closer was down, and Wash was looking for someone to close the game. It all starts with the starting pitching, and C.J. did a great job.”
Buchholz (1-2) allowed six hits and a walk in 6 2-3 innings.
Wilson had been 0-6 with an 8.31 ERA as a starter. He went 0-5 in 2005 and then went four years without making a start before pitching seven shutout innings in a no-decision in his first appearance this season. After a bout of food poisoning, he gave up three earned runs to the New York Yankees in a 5-1 loss on Friday.
The former closer had allowed just two hits through six innings, but the Rangers had just three against Buchholz before Josh Hamilton(notes) led off the seventh with a double and scored on Cruz’s single up the middle. Cruz then stole second and scored on Murphy’s double into the left-center gap to make it 2-0.
Buchholz got Chris Davis(notes) to ground out to first and struck out Taylor Teagarden(notes). The right-hander could have gotten out of it on Andres Blanco’s(notes) drag bunt up the first-base line, but Buchholz made a wild throw to first to allow Blanco to get to second, and then right fielder J.D. Drew(notes) made a bad throw to third to allow the runner to take third.
Cruz, who entered the game tied for the major league lead with seven homers, was intentionally walked in the eighth and stole another base, his fifth of the season.
Boston won each of the first two games of the series in its last at-bat, getting a game-ending single from McDonald on Tuesday and a game-winning single off the Green Monster from Kevin Youkilis(notes) on Wednesday.
“We had two comeback wins the nights before; everybody knows this team can win,” Buchholz said. “It is just about doing it on a consistent basis.”
NOTES: The Rangers haven’t been thrown out by a Red Sox catcher in 34 tries since Aug. 2008. … The Red Sox said before the game that OF Jacoby Ellsbury(notes), who had been eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, has hairline fractures in four ribs from a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre(notes) on April 11. … O’Day was hit on the left forearm by Bill Hall’s(notes) liner in the eighth, but remained in the game. … The Rangers said they would option 1B Chris Davis to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday and purchase the contract of 1B Justin Smoak(notes), a top prospect.