BOSTON -- Three pitches into the game, and Clay Buchholz was in trouble.
He gave up a Green Monster double to leadoff batter Bobby Abreu, and No. 2 hitter Maicer Izturis stepped on Buchholz's foot on a race to first base.
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"Stuff like that happens," Buchholz said after leading the Boston Red Sox to a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. "I was fine after the first minute or so."He was better than fine.The Red Sox right-hander regrouped and pitched seven shutout innings, getting Ryan Kalish's first career grand slam and a car window-smashing homer from Darnell McDonald to earn his fourth straight victory. Buchholz (14-5) allowed five hits and two walks, striking out three before Felix Doubront and Michael Bowden finished off Boston's first shutout since June 20."To hold that team to no runs any day is a pretty big feat," said Buchholz, whose league-leading ERA dropped to 2.36. "They can score a whole lot of runs."Jered Weaver (11-8) allowed six runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four in his first loss in four starts. He gave up two homers, but another long drive was brought back in when Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, moved this month from center field to right, reached into the bullpen to grab it.
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"It seems like whatever position Torii's playing, he keeps making those catches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That was one of the best you're going to see."Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup after missing 44 games with a broken bone in his left foot. The 2008 AL MVP, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, received a standing ovation before his first at-bat. But he went 0-for-4 and also made a throwing error trying to convert a double play in the fifth inning.Buchholz lasted seven innings for the fifth straight start, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Erick Aybar grounded out to first. In his last five starts, he has allowed a total of five earned runs."He made a real good pitch to get out of the inning," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "But he made a lot of good pitches."McDonald, Boston's No. 9 hitter, homered to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the third on a shot that left the ballpark and crashed through the rear window of a Toyota parked on the top floor of the garage across Lansdowne Street. Weaver struck out two batters after giving up David Ortiz's leadoff single in the fourth, but J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell both walked on 3-2 pitches to load the bases.Kalish, the No. 8 hitter, homered into the Red Sox bullpen for his second career homer. Ortiz and Victor Martinez hit back-to-back, two-out doubles in the fifth to make it 6-0.The Angels also loaded the bases in the eighth, but Doubront struck out Aybar to end the inning. Los Angeles is 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position in their last five games."We have been as poor as any team we've had here this year with runners in scoring position," Scioscia said. "As an overall team we're just not getting it done. ... It's been a very frustrating process."
RHP Joel Pineiro, who has been on the DL since straining his left oblique muscle warming up for his July 28 start against the Red Sox in Anaheim, played catch Tuesday for the first time since he was injured. ... OF Hideki Matsui got together on the field before batting practice Tuesday with former Yomiuri Giants teammate Masumi Kuwata, who was at the game doing some TV work. Kuwata appeared in 19 games for the Pirates in 2007, going 0-1 with a 9.43 ERA after a long career in Japan. ... OF Jacoby Ellsbury had an exam with Dr. Lewis Yocum in California on Tuesday afternoon after re-injuring his ribs and landing on the disabled list for a third time. ... C Jason Varitek was also scheduled to meet with doctors on his broken right foot. Hideki Okajima threw a side session. INF Kevin Youkilis (muscle tear in right thumb) said he hadn't ruled out returning for the playoffs, if the Red Sox make them.