A SAD END TO A
RECORD SEASON ...
Jon Lester allows the Royals just one hit
July 18, 2006 ...
The rookie lefty, Jon Lester, No. 62 on your program but with a
bullet next to his name on the charts, came up with some sweet poetry
of his own last night. Lester, displaying an economy of effort absent
from his previous seven starts in the big leagues, held the Kansas
City Royals to a single hit through eight innings a ground-ball
single up the middle by Mark Teahen in the second inning. Rookie
closer Jonathan Papelbon set the Royals down in order in the ninth to
complete the combined one-hitter, a 1-0 Sox win before a sellout
crowd of 36,224 sent home in a snappy 2 hours 23 minutes.
nothing is another man's history. By running his record to 5-0, 22-year-old
Jonathan Tyler Lester of Puyallup, Wash., became the first Sox rookie lefthander
to win his first five decisions. That trumped the debuts of such notable
opposite-handers in Sox annals as George Herman Ruth, Melvin Lloyd Parnell,
Donald Bernard Schwall, William Francis Lee III, Bruce Vee Hurst, and one Thomas
Frederick (Rick) Jones, who in 1976 was the last Sox rookie lefty to win his
first four decisions then won two more games the rest of his career.
became the first lefty rookie to start a one-hitter since Billy Rohr, who came
within an out of no-hitting the Yankees in the Bronx April 14, 1967 before
Elston Howard singled, a moment that can be recited from memory by an entire
generation of Sox fans who have "The Impossible Dream" in their LP collection.
Rohr's glory days were few. He won just three games in his major league career
and was out of baseball two years after his debut, history's way of warning fans
not to get carried away by the early returns
The only run
of the game in the team's first 1-0 win this season and first at Fenway Park
since Pedro Martinez went eight innings against the Padres on June 8, 2004, came
in the fifth inning on a double by Jason Varitek and a single by Alex Gonzalez,
the Sox shortstop delivering a base hit after fouling off three two- strike
broke Carlton Fisk's record for most games caught for the Sox (991), doubled off
the Monster in left-center off loser Brandon Duckworth and scored on Gonzalez's
bouncer up the middle. When Varitek came out to catch the sixth, the scoreboard
flashed the news of his passing Fisk, which brought the crowd to its feet and
caused Varitek to wave his hand this way and that to acknowledge the ovation
before quickly dropping into his crouch.
combined one-hitter by Sox pitchers came June 14, 2005, here when Wells (seven
innings, Ryan Freel single in the sixth), Mike Timlin, and Keith Foulke combined
to shut out the Reds, 7-0. Hideo Nomo was the last Sox pitcher to throw a
one-hitter May 25, 2001, against Toronto but Francona said he entertained no
thoughts of sending Lester out for the ninth inning.
had thrown no fewer than 82 pitches in the first five innings of his first seven
starts, threw 100 pitches last night in improving his record to 5-0. He became
the first Sox rookie starter to win his first five decisions since Aaron Sele
won his first six in 1993. He walked four and struck out four while facing just
27 batters, just three over the minimum. Only four of Kansas City's outs came on
fly balls on a night the wind was gusting and blowing balls toward the infield.
Teahen, who stole second after his base hit, was the only Royal to reach second
base. He picked off Mark Grudzielanek after issuing a leadoff walk in the
fourth, and second baseman Mark Loretta and shortstop Gonzalez collaborated on a
snappy double play to erase Tony Graffanino after his one out walk in the
recorded his big-league leading 28th save by striking out David DeJesus,
retiring pinch hitter Matt Stairs on an infield roller, and inducing
Grudzielanek to ground to Mike Lowell at third to end the game.
not oblivious to the tattered state of the Sox rotation, but said that was not
something he took to the mound with him.