Rather than moving closer to ending his 11-start winless streak, C.J. Wilson seems to be getting farther from it - a frustrating trend as the Los Angeles Angels try to close the gap in the AL wild-card race.
Wilson takes the mound for the Angels on Wednesday night when they look for a seventh straight win against the Boston Red Sox - the latest team to tee off on the left-hander.
Instead of helping push Los Angeles toward a playoff berth, Wilson (9-9, 3.83 ERA) is in the midst of one of the worst stretches of his career. He's 0-5 with a 6.09 ERA since beating Baltimore on June 26.
Wilson's drought continued at Fenway Park last Thursday. He allowed seven runs and eight hits over five innings, but was let off the hook when the Angels (67-62) rallied to win 14-13 in 10 innings.
Wilson, who was 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox while with Texas, had surrendered at least six runs in four of his last five outings.
The last Angels pitcher to go 11 starts without a win was Jim Abbott , whose streak reached 13 games from May 7-Aug. 10, 1996.
Wilson will try to recover and extend Los Angeles' dominance in this series after it rallied for a 6-5 victory Tuesday to stay 4 1/2 games behind Baltimore and Oakland for the AL's wild-card spots - with Tampa Bay and Detroit also standing in the way.
"As long as we get in (the playoffs), that's fine, but we still want to win the division no matter what," Hunter said. "That's still the priority. We've got 30 more games, so we're just going out there every day and grinding. We didn't give up tonight. They got a lead early, but we kept grinding and got it done."
Los Angeles had lost its last two games and totaled seven runs over the previous three, but it received a spark Tuesday with the return of Albert Pujols , who had two hits - including a sixth-inning homer - after missing the previous four games with an injured right calf.
Boston (62-68), meanwhile, blew a three-run lead as it dropped to 9-17 this month.
Stewart has made 18 appearances this season. In the lone start, he surrendered six runs, nine hits and four homers in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-3 loss to the Cubs on June 18 - his last appearance in the majors.
"There's very little I can say about him other than the reports I've read, which tell me he's a good competitive athlete with a good sinker, not afraid of contact, likes to play the game of baseball," Valentine told the Red Sox's official website. "We'll be excited to have him out there."
The right-hander made a road start against the Angels last Aug. 24 and allowed seven runs in six innings of an 8-0 defeat.
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 25, 2012||David Ortiz||15-Day DL||Aggravated right Achilles strain|
|August 25, 2012||Daniel Nava||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|August 24, 2012||Franklin Morales||15-Day DL||Left shoulder fatigue|
|August 20, 2012||Carl Crawford||Day-to-Day||Left elbow surgery|
|August 20, 2012||Carl Crawford||15-Day DL||Left elbow surgery - out for season|
|August 11, 2012||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Broken right wrist - out for season|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 22, 2012||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf tightness|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 13, 2012||C.J. Wilson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left hand|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|July 30, 2012||Dan Haren||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|July 29, 2012||Scott Downs||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- C.J. Wilson's famously positive mental attitude kept him from getting down on himself while he went two months without a win.
Thanks to a bountiful offensive night by his Angels teammates, Wilson is feeling even better now.
Kendrys Morales and Chris Iannetta hit early two-run homers, Wilson snapped his 11-start winless skid and Los Angeles jumped all over new Boston starter Zach Stewart in a 10-3 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Wilson (10-9) was staked to an early eight-run lead in his first victory since June 26, ending a dismaying stretch of futility by the Angels' $77.5 million left-hander. Los Angeles' All-Star free-agent acquisition still gave up eight hits and three runs while laboring at times through six innings, but struck out four and won at home for the first time since June 19.
"It's good to go out there and give the team what it needed," Wilson said while wearing a black T-shirt with "P-M-A" on the front, advertising his devotion to that positive mental attitude. "With the score the way it was, I just told myself I wasn't going to give in to that big inning, and it worked."
Wilson went 0-5 during his two-month winless stretch, the longest of his career since his rookie season. He also had an eight-run lead at home against Tampa Bay on Aug. 18, but gave it away by allowing seven runs in the fifth inning.
"It's a big step forward for C.J.," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got away from some of the things that make him so good. He's a lot better pitcher than he showed for the last month."
Torii Hunter , Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar all contributed run-scoring doubles during the three innings pitched by Stewart (1-3), who yielded 10 hits and fell behind 9-1 in a horrific Red Sox debut. Five Angels had multihit games, led by Hunter's 3-for-4 effort with two RBIs.
Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 15 games with two hits for the Angels, who have won seven straight against Boston, including all five meetings this season, while outscoring the Red Sox 58-30.
After sweeping a series at Fenway Park last week, Los Angeles goes for the season sweep Thursday night with Zach Greinke on the mound, hoping to stay in the AL wild-card race. The Angels pulled within 3 1/2 games of Baltimore for the second wild-card spot, although Detroit and Tampa Bay are both in the way as well.
"That's the only chance we have, is to get hot," Wilson said. "We have to come from behind and beat everybody in front of us."
Mauro Gomez had three hits and Scott Podsednik added two hits and an RBI for the Red Sox, who have lost seven of 10. Boston dropped back to six games below .500, matching its worst mark since May 10.
Stewart's dismal debut didn't win over any Boston fans. The Red Sox acquired him from the White Sox in June in the trade of Kevin Youkilis .
"I was just too inconsistent and those hitters are too good to leave that many balls over the plate against," Stewart said. "You never want to have a start like that, but the only thing you can do is turn the page and go from there. You've got to flush those and go on to the next one."
He might not get the chance right away: Stewart is expected to get sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday when Daniel Bard rejoins the Boston roster.
Stewart has been traded three times in three years, and he hadn't pitched in the majors since June 18.
Mike Trout led off with a single and scored his major league-leading 102nd run on Hunter's double. Albert Pujols then singled and scored on Morales' 17th homer of the season, putting Los Angeles up 4-0 after four batters.
Hunter added an RBI single in the second inning, and Morales' leadoff double in the third led to four more runs, capped by Iannetta's seventh homer.
"He got too many pitches up," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "He has to pitch down in the zone to be effective, and he just wasn't able to do that tonight. It's tough coming up and making a start against this team and have things kind of go bad from the first hitter."
NOTES: Wilson didn't allow a homer for the first time in his last seven starts. ... Stewart is the 53rd player to appear in a game for the Red Sox this season. ... Beleaguered Boston closer Alfredo Aceves came on in the seventh inning one night after blowing his fourth save in his last seven chances. Kendrick hit Aceves' first pitch for a single, but the reliever stranded two runners. ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury 's streak of six straight games with at least two hits ended.