- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - When C.J. Wilson walked off the mound during the sixth inning in what could have been his last start for the Rangers, they were down by a run.

This time, his outing was good enough for Texas.

Despite another erratic performance against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wilson kept his team close in a second World Series matchup with ace Chris Carpenter.

“He was getting in trouble and getting out, and I was certainly hoping for the one inning when he could go out there and find his rhythm,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “It was a battle for him all night. … He kept us in the ballgame even though it wasn’t a C.J.-like type game.”

The Rangers tied the score in the bottom of the sixth, took the lead in the eighth and are one win from their first championship after a 4-2 victory Monday night that gave them a 3-2 Series lead.

Winless this postseason (0-3, 6.08 ERA in five starts) after winning 16 games as Texas’ No. 1 starter in the regular season, Wilson walked five batters, threw a wild pitch and had a fielding error. Two of his walks in Game 5 were intentional passes to slugger Albert Pujols.

Yet the Rangers trailed only 2-1 when the free agent-to-be lefty exited with one out and one on in the sixth. Wilson’s 108th and last pitch was a single by David Freese.

“In situations like this where you have everything on the line and it’s the most important game of your career, you can’t let the situation overwhelm you,” Wilson said. “I have confidence in myself because I’ve done it so many times. At this point in the year, I’ve thrown I don’t even know how many innings and I’ve been in that situation before. It’s not a big deal.

“If I can hold the line, then our team’s going to come back and score,” he added. “That’s the way I feel every time.”

Colby Lewis starts Game 6 for Texas against Jaime Garcia on Wednesday night in St. Louis.

Since making the transition from the bullpen, Wilson has gone 31-15 with a 3.14 ERA over 67 starts the past two regular seasons. Including the postseason, he has thrown 478 1-3 innings during that span

When asked about the possibility that he might have pitched his last game for the Rangers, Wilson said he wasn’t going to respond to that question.

Drafted by Texas in 2001, Wilson made his major league debut four years later. He took over as the team’s No. 1 starter after ace left-hander Cliff Lee left in free agency following last year’s World Series loss to San Francisco.

The Cardinals got both their runs in the second, an inning that started with consecutive walks to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. Before the second walk, Holliday had already slid headfirst into second base after Wilson threw a wild pitch that bounced at the feet of Berkman and got away from catcher Mike Napoli.

After Freese hit a fly ball, Yadier Molina had an RBI single to left before Skip Schumaker drove in another run with a groundball for a 2-0 lead.

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