The bobbling, falling, rolling, diving, stretching play Clay Buchholz made to tag Alberto Callaspo in the fourth inning left him with few ill effects. The awkward throw he made to first in the sixth inning after chasing down a Howie Kendrick line drive that was so hot it buzzed is glove off, however, caused a stiffness in the right side of his neck that forced him to leave the Red Sox 7-2 win over the Angles after 6 2/3 innings, even though he was spinning another gem.
After a night of a constantly hopping off the mound to make plays, Buchholz said, "Figured that was enough, didn't want to push my luck any more with that."
An irritation in his AC joint forced him to miss a start just a week ago, and although Sox manager John Farrell said it wasn't related, he was still cautious.
"It was almost a combination of a couple things that led to the stiffness there," Farrell said. "We don't feel at this point that it's any way related to the AC irritation that he was feeling previously. So he'll go through a full exam here tonight and I'm sure once he arrives at the ballpark tomorrow."
Buchholz finished out the sixth but with two outs in the seventh, he called for Farrell and trainers to meet him on the mound and left the game after throwing 104 pitches.
"It was just a little nagging there for a couple innings," Buchholz said. "That was right after that ball that hit off my glove I threw it to first base and that's when it sort of tightened up a little bit."
It was unclear whether the neck stiffness could possibly cause Buchholz to miss a start.
"I hope not," he said. "It's definitely not what I want, but I haven't even spoken to the doctors about it."
With the win, Buchholz became the first Sox pitcher to start a season 9-0 since since Josh Beckett in 2009. The only other Sox pitcher to go 9-0 over his first 12 starts is Roger Clemens.
"That's what it's all about," Buchholz said. "You get on rolls and you've got to ride them as long as you can. I think when you go out there and you get hit around a little bit, you've got to respond to it. Hopefully it doesn't happen all year, but sooner or later it does. It happens to everybody. So I'm going to try to ride it as long as I can."