By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

DETROIT – Some relievers relish a defined role in the bullpen, where they always know when they will be called on. Through nine appearances for the Detroit Tigers this season, Alex Wilson had thrived without that kind of relative stability, and he did it again Thursday, pitching scoreless 10th and 11th innings in a 6-5 walkoff win over the Houston Astros.

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Wilson has been used in all sorts of games situations. In his first outing in Detroit, he faced 10 batters over three innings. In his second outing for the Tigers, he faced two batters over two-thirds of an inning.

On five occasions Wilson has faced four batters or fewer, but Thursday was the fourth time he has pitched to at least seven. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus would have left him in longer had catcher James McCann not ended the game with a solo home run.

“He was going to go back out for the next inning, actually, if we don’t score,” Ausmus said. “So he would have been back out for a third. He can pitch long like that, he can get a couple righties out if we need him in the seventh or eighth, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the tight game, so he’s got a lot of versatility.”

Wilson said he was happy to have the Tigers get a win rather than pitch another inning, but he would have gladly done it if it was necessary, and he said as much to pitching coach Jeff Jones.

“I was ready to go,” Wilson said. “Jonesy came over and asked me if I was good. I said, ‘Yeah, let’s keep it rolling.’ They were concerned because it was my fourth out of fifth day – four out of five days throwing, but I felt great, and I’ll be ready to go again tomorrow.”

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Wilson has had defined roles before, but he said he does not mind being put in the game at any time.

“I’ve always kind of been at the back of the bullpen, throwing one inning for the most part, but I was a starter coming up, too, so multiple innings is not a new thing for me,” Wilson said, “but as far as roles are concerned, let everybody else have their roles and I’ll tie it together where need be. If that’s a role, I guess, I’ll take it.”

The Boston Red Sox, who traded Wilson to Detroit this offseason, used Wilson in a similar way.

“I’d throw three innings one day, I’d come in and get an out the next, so it’s something I’ve gotten used to over the years, and now, this year, it seems like it’s a little more pronounced,” Wilson said. “They want to get me the ball, and I’m happy for it.

“I take pride in being ready whenever my name is called,” Wilson continued. “I go through my own routine during the game, I have my own little things that I do to kind of mentally stay prepared. It’s just one inning at a time. When it gets to a situation where I think they use me, I just kind of mentally prepare, kind of game plan for who’s coming up.”

Wilson has a 1.50 ERA for the Tigers this season.

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