Even though I haven't attended a baseball game in quite a while, the fact that the Red Sox were hosting Kansas City wasn't exactly tantalizing. My friend was persistent and I agreed to go with him.
Besides, I remembered the last time I had turned down free tickets to a Red Sox game. On that night, which was foggy, cold and damp, Roger Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 Seattle Mariners.
Jon Lester, 24, the Red Sox' highly-regarded young left-handed pitcher was the scheduled starter against the visiting KC Royals. The only two base runners through the first two innings reached base on a walk issued by Lester, and that runner was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of the next hitter.
With the help of a KC error, the Red Sox put up five runs in the bottom of the third. In the top of the fourth with two outs, the Sox' rookie sensation, Jacoby Ellsbury, made a web-gem diving catch of a fast sinking ball in short center field. We could not have known at the time how significant that spectacular catch would turn out to be. The ball caught by Ellsbury would be the closest the KC team would come to having another base runner until the ninth inning. That runner reached by way of a walk.
With two out in the ninth inning, his ninth strike out of the game clinched it. Jon Lester had pitched a no-hitter!
I know a certain lady on my Blogroll, Rebecca, who is a big fan of the Sox' starting catcher will be happy to hear of this game. For the record, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek became the first catcher in major league baseball history to have caught four no-hitters! In addition to Lester's gem, he was behind the plate for no-no's hurled by Derek Lowe, Hideki Nomo, and the one last year thrown by Clay Buckholz.
| WP: J. Lester (3-2)|
LP: L. Hochevar (3-3)
His no-hitter is just another chapter in the feel-good story of this young pitcher.
On August 27, 2006, Lester was scratched from his scheduled start against the Oakland Athletics due to a sore back. The following day he was placed on the 15 day disabled list (retroactive to August 24, 2006), and was sent back to Boston for testing. At the time, Lester's back problems were thought to be the result of a car crash he was involved in on August 18, 2006.
On August 31 it was reported that Lester had been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes and was being tested for a variety of ailments, including forms of cancer. On September 1, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that Lester had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
On December 5, 2006, ESPN.com reported that Lester's latest CT Scan showed no signs of the disease, which appeared to be in remission. Lester attended spring training in 2007, and on March 5, 2007, he made his first appearance in a game. He retired all 3 batters he faced, with a total of 8 pitches.
He started the 2007 season for the class A Greenville Drive. Lester then started for AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in late April 2007. As of June 11, Lester was removed from the disabled list, and sent to Pawtucket for further rehab outings. Lester made his first 2007 start for the Boston Red Sox on July 23 against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and struck out 6, picking up the win.
Lester was the winning pitcher in the final game of the 2007 World Series which saw the Boston Red Sox sweep the Colorado Rockies in four games.
To honor Lester's comeback from lymphoma, Boston Baseball Writers' Association of America honored him with the 2007 Tony Conigliaro Award.
Though it was cold, I had witnessed my first live no hitter. The sell-out crowd and the energy of those fans and the electricity of a possible historic evening of baseball made me all but forget that it was cold out there last night.
...And to think that I almost turned down the ticket!
There may not have been any hits for the Kansas City baseball team last night, but this site, "It Occurred To Me", keeps on piling them up with ...
as of 11:30 pm last night.
It's certainly not as impressive as Jon Lester's accomplishment, but it's gratifying to me just the same. A tip of the hat and a hearty "thank you" to everyone who honors my Blog with their visits.