HOUSTON -- Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson needed only 106 pitches -- 65 of them were strikes -- to complete seven strong innings in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park.
Too often this season, Wilson has hit the 100-pitch mark in the fifth or sixth inning, his command problems and inability to put hitters away at times preventing him from going deep into games, which in turn puts more of a strain on the bullpen.
But Wilson went into attack mode against three free-swinging Astros on Sunday, giving up one unearned run and three hits while striking out 10 and walking three to improve to 8-5 and help the Angels complete a 6-0 trip to Detroit and Houston.
"I thought he pitched ahead of trouble today," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Wilson. "I think he was pounding the strike zone with his first two pitches -- he had very few 2-and-0 counts. He was able to get command of counts, and when he did, he had some great out pitches."
Wilson said he had an excellent slider Sunday and credited catcher Hank Conger with helping him get ahead in counts by using off-speed and breaking pitches earlier against the hitters. That helped keep the Astros off balance all afternoon.
"They have a lot of guys who are swinging who maybe get a little antsy with that short porch down the left-field line," Wilson said. "For a left-handed pitcher, that can be a really bad combination if you throw to their strengths. But you can use that aggressiveness against them. You can keep them off balance by throwing off-speed stuff like sliders, changeups, curves."