C.J. Wilson's All-Star debut is 'bummer'
Rangers lefty not happy about taking loss but said overall experience was 'awesome'
PHOENIX -- Texas Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson walked out of the visiting clubhouse at Chase Field as the National League was completing a 5-1 victory and summed up his first All-Star Game with one word: "Bummer."
Wilson, picked by Rangers and American League manager Ron Washington to pitch against left-handed hitters, took the loss after allowing a three-run homer to one of the toughest left-handed hitters in the game -- Milwaukee's Prince Fielder -- in the fourth inning.
"It's a total failure when you give up a three-run home run in an All-Star Game," Wilson said. "Bummer. Now it's time to go home to the beach."
Wilson gave up a single to the Mets' Carlos Beltran on a ball that took a strange hop on Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and another single to the Dodgers' Matt Kemp to bring up Fielder with no outs and the AL holding a 1-0 lead.
Wilson threw a 2-2 cutter, and Fielder drove it to left-center, one of the deepest parts of the park. The ball hit the top of the wall and then jumped over it to give the NL a lead it never relinquished.
The home run drew a loud ovation from the sellout crowd of 47,944, a departure for Fielder, who endured a steady drowning of boos during the Home Run Derby because he decided not to pick Arizona outfielder Justin Upton for the contest.
"I understood," said Fielder, the game's MVP. "That shows you how much Justin means to them. I didn't take it personal at all. The home run changed it because it helped us win."
Wilson, 30, said he just didn't quite get the grip he wanted on the fateful pitch to Fielder.
"Instead of grip it and rip it, I gripped it and slipped it, and threw it right down the middle and he hit it out," Wilson said. "Prince Fielder is good. That's why he's in the Home Run Derby."
Washington agreed, giving credit to Fielder for a good at-bat.
"He's not the type of hitter to miss even a small mistake," Washington said. "You tip your cap."
Washington said he hoped his lineup could chip away at the lead, but the AL didn't really have an opportunity.
"That pitching they brought out of that bullpen was awesome," Washington said. "I'd still like to have this team. If I could have this team every day, we could walk the dog. But they got us in that bullpen.
"It doesn't change anything about C.J. He's an All-Star and will pitch like one in the second half."
It's not unusual for a Rangers player to factor into recent All-Star Game results. Michael Young, who made his seventh appearance in the Midsummer Classic, has twice won the game for the AL in its final at-bat. He did it with a two-run triple off Trevor Hoffman in 2006 and hit a sacrifice fly in the 15th inning to drive in the winning run at Yankee Stadium in 2008. Former Ranger Hank Blalock won a game for the AL in 2003 with an eighth-inning home run off Eric Gagne.
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Surrendering the homer obviously wasn't the way Wilson wanted to add his name to that list, but he won't let it ruin his overall All-Star experience. That included watching the Home Run Derby armed with two cameras as he chronicled the Derby for his website and through Twitter.
"It was awesome," Wilson said. "I got to hang out with all the guys, get to know some dudes on the other team and get to participate in, for me, the coolest All-Star Game in all of sports. I'm not eligible to play in the Pro Bowl or NBA All-Star Game. It was cool."
Wilson said he was going to head to California and spend the day on the beach. He did joke that losing home-field advantage to the NL could have one upside.
"It's awesome because it means I get to bat if we play in the World Series again," Wilson said. "Maybe it's all part of an elaborate scheme I have to hit home runs in the World Series."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.