CHICAGO -- Trying to hear soft-spoken Clay Buchholz in a raucous Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday night proved as daunting for some people (present company most definitely included) as trying to hit the unbeaten Red Sox right-hander.
Besides the usual postgame hip-hop on the clubhouse PA, Mike Napoli, a South Florida native, was standing inches away from a TV screen, loudly exhorting the Miami Heat to finish off the Indiana Pacers in the last minutes of overtime. LeBron James' buzzer-beater then set off some colorful commentary from David Ortiz, all delivered at a high-decibel level. "Has he been there before? Has he been there before? We've been there before," Ortiz proclaimed. Shane Victorino, meanwhile, grumbled something about James' having no range outside of 10 feet, which did not go unchallenged by Napoli.
It had been a little better in the office of manager John Farrell, who reflected on Buchholz's seven-inning, one-run outing and concluded, "He has certainly set the tone for us. The biggest thing is no one can sit on any one pitch in any count. That's what defines Clay Buchholz."
Buchholz actually labored a bit in the first inning. Alejandro De Aza led off with a single, but was cut down trying to steal by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, one of two baserunners thrown out by Saltalamacchia, who had come into the game having caught one of just 19 attempted base stealers.
The only run he allowed came in the third, when a walk and two groundouts -- the first of which the Sox just missed turning a double play on -- brought around Tyler Flowers to score (Flowers reached on an infield hit).
Buchholz gave up leadoff singles in each of the next three innings, too, but no Chicago runners advanced beyond first base until Konerko homered off reliever Andrew Bailey with two outs in the ninth.
"When any starter is throwing the ball well and getting deep into games, good things are going to happen," Buchholz said. "You're going to take your lumps and bumps in the road. But it's been fun. Hopefully, we'll just keep on striding."
For the ninth time in 10 starts, Buchholz held the opposition to two runs or fewer. He has held opponents scoreless three times, to one run twice. Only the Twins, with four runs on May 6, have been above that threshold. That is also the only start in which Buchholz has failed to pitch at least seven innings; he went six in that one.
Buchholz has given up a total of 14 runs in his first 10 starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three starters have allowed fewer in that span: Pedro Martinez (10 in 2000), Josh Beckett (12 in 2011), and Bret Saberhagen (13 in 1999).