ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays ace Shane McClanahan was pulled in the fifth inning with neck tightness during a 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
"He did not want to come out, was not happy about that, but we're trying to make the best decision," manager Kevin Cash said.
The AL All-Star Game starter and Cy Young Award contender allowed five runs for only the second time this season, pushing his ERA to 2.36. McClanahan (12-6) was making his second start after returning from the 15-day injured list due to a left shoulder impingement.
"It was like full extension and I just felt a little tweak or something like that, but it went away immediately,'' McClanahan said. "I guess they saw it as I was stretching it out or whatever, but I feel fine. I cannot stress that enough.
"Middle of September, I respect the precautionary move. I am just getting off the IL, so I can see, I guess, the err of caution.''
McClanahan walked Jose Altuve leading off the fifth, then threw three straight balls to Jeremy Pena. Cash and a trainer then came out of the dugout and pulled McClanahan, even after the 25-year-old appeared to tell Cash, "I'm good.''
"I think we all understand how important he is to our club, and if I see something that's uncharacteristic, I think the best decision is to pull him out of the ball game,'' Cash said. "It's OK for him to be mad at me.''
McClanahan walked four and allowed five hits while throwing 80 pitches.
The Rays are two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays and a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the chase for the AL's top wild card.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.