Craig Wilson wasn't even supposed to be in the starting line up for the Pirates last week, but when an injury to Sean Casey put him there, he took full advantage of the opportunity.
Five home runs later, Wilson was huge for the Pirates in notching their first three wins of the season, and the Pittsburgh outfielder/first baseman was named the National League Player of the Week for April 10-16. The award came after he hit .364 over the seven-game period, including a two-homer day -- both two-run shots -- against the Dodgers on April 12.
"I guess you just have to make the most of your opportunities when you get them," Wilson said about his efforts over the last week.
Wilson started at first base for six of the seven games against the Dodgers and the Cubs, filling in for Casey. He ended the week on a six-game hitting streak, and led the National League with 25 total bases.
For the 29-year-old, the answer to his hot seven-game stretch is simple: batting gloves. Not his batting gloves, however.
"It just seemed like I was able to hit the ball hard this week," Wilson said. "I think a lot of it might be those [batting] gloves that [outfielder] Nate [McLouth] gave me. I'm going to try to ride those out as long as I can."
Those batting gloves gave him 10 RBIs over the course of the week, and in two of the three Pirates wins, Wilson played a major role in one-run victories. His solo shot and only hit of the game gave the Pirates a 7-6 win over the Dodgers on April 11, and his base running led to a win over the Cubs on April 15.
In that game against the Cubs, Wilson scored after he hit a triple to put the Pirates up 2-0, which ended up being the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory. Wilson also scored Pittsburgh's first run of the game after walking, stealing second, and scoring on a throwing error.
After Saturday's win, in which Wilson plated both runs, he explained clearly where he got his base-running speed from.
"I guess it was the extra Pepsi that I had before the game that gave me the energy," Wilson joked. "Once I get going, I guess I have decent speed. But I wouldn't say it's anything great."
Whether it was the batting gloves, the extra Pepsi, or maybe just Wilson's talent, the Pirates got three much-needed wins on the young season.
Amanda Branam is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.