Then strike one, strike two and three foul balls before Donny Lucy finally swung and missed to end the sixth inning. Wilson, the former reliever turned starter, bounced off the mound and the Rangers went on to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
"You could see the excitement on his face, he's a competitor," catcher Matt Treanor said.
"I'm not going to give in, not just going to throw a cookie down the middle," Wilson said. "Once I battled back to 3-2, I knew I had a chance to get him out. ... Knowing that was the tying run I would have walked in if I would have missed."
Wilson (2-1), who before this year hadn't started since his 2005 rookie season when he was coming off Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, allowed two runs over six innings and has a 1.75 ERA this season. The left-hander struck out five and walked three.
Treanor had a solo homer and a two-run double off left-hander Mark Buehrle (2-3) for his first extra-base hits of the season.
"Some of the bigger-name guys, I've done pretty good against them," said Buehrle, adding he didn't know much about Treanor before facing him. "He's married to some volleyball player."
Buehrle allowed four runs over seven innings to lose his third straight start.
The husband of two-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor had his big game hours after Texas optioned Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden, the two catchers on their season-opening roster, to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Treanor was acquired from Milwaukee during spring training. He was called up April 9 from Oklahoma City when Saltalamacchia went on the disabled list because of upper back stiffness.
Treanor put Texas ahead to stay with a solo homer in the second, the ball just clearing the 14-foot wall in left field. His double made 3-0 in the fourth after Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero had consecutive singles and Buehrle threw a wild pitch.
"It was awesome," Wilson said. "He's taking the role by the horns."
It was the sixth start in nine games for Treanor, who played for Florida from 2004-08 and started four games for Detroit last season. Max Ramirez, recalled Tuesday from Oklahoma City, is the other Rangers catcher.
The Rangers activated Saltalamacchia from the disabled list Tuesday and optioned him to Oklahoma City, where he had already appeared in six games on a rehabilitation assignment. Teagarden was hitting only .037 (1 for 27) with 17 strikeouts in 10 games.
Francisco lost his closer job after blowing two save chances the first week of the season. Hard-throwing Neftali Feliz, who took over as the closer, was unavailable after pitching the previous two games, and giving up back-to-back homers in the ninth inning of a loss to Detroit on Monday night.
"I haven't ever lost my confidence," Francisco said. "I know what I can do, whatever happened in the past is in the past. I'm locating my fastball better."
Manager Ron Washington said he still considered Feliz his closer, but then added the closer is "anybody we put out there in the ninth inning."
Carlos Quentin snapped a 1-for-34 slide with an infield RBI single in the fifth for Chicago, which was coming off a three-game sweep of Seattle.
After the White Sox loaded the bases in the sixth on a hit batsman, a single and a walk, Alexei Ramirez had an RBI single. Wilson then finally got Lucy out on his 104th pitch of the game.
"We've didn't get the big base hit we needed," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We've got to execute."
Rangers rookie first baseman Justin Smoak got his first major league RBI with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. ... Bench coach Jackie Moore's jersey was hanging in the Rangers dugout. Moore is away from the team after the death of his 52-year-old daughter Sunday. ... Wilson had thrown 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at Rangers Ballpark, dating back to last July 21, before the fourth inning. ... White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko had homered in three straight games before Tuesday.