Boston rookie throws no hitter

BOSTON, Ma -- The call-up came up with all zeros.

Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his second major league start, just hours after the Boston Red Sox promoted him from the minors Saturday night.

The 23-year-old righty became the first Red Sox rookie to throw one, baffling the Baltimore Orioles with an assortment of curves, changeups and fastballs in a 10-0 victory.

"I sort of tried to zone everything out, but it was sort of hard with 40,000 people screaming," he said. "I'm in a blur right now."

The crowd stood through the entire ninth inning, cheering every pitch and taking pictures of the young righty in his windup and as he paced around the mound between pitches. A groan rose from the stands when Corey Patterson hit a line drive to center with one out, but Coco Crisp easily moved over to catch it.

Buchholz started Nick Markakis with a ball, then went ahead 1-2 when the batter fouled one off with a check swing. The crowd grew even louder, the flashes were constant, and Buchholz threw a 77 mph curveball that Markakis watched go by.

Plate umpire Joe West hesitated, but catcher Jason Varitek rose from his crouch to run to the mound. The rest of the Red Sox soon joined him there, and David Ortiz enveloped the rookie in a bear hug.

"He's somebody you don't want to see running at you, full-speed," Buchholz said.

No one stopped cheering until Buchholz appeared on the centerfield scoreboard for a television interview, and the fans hushed to try to hear him. But when "Clay Buchholz, No-hitter" appeared on the message board, the ballpark erupted anew.

Buchholz, who turned 23 on Aug. 14, pitched the third no-hitter of the season -- following Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox against Texas on April 18 and Justin Verlander of Detroit against Milwaukee on June 12.

Buchholz (2-0) became the 17th rookie to throw a no-hitter. The last one to do it was Florida's Anibal Sanchez, a former Red Sox prospect traded for Josh Beckett, against Arizona last Sept. 6.

The Boston newcomer, who threw 115 pitches, became the third pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter in his first or second major league start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bobo Hollomon did it in his first start on May 6, 1953, for the St. Louis Browns at home against the Philadelphia Athletics, and Wilson Alvarez did it in his second start on Aug. 11, 1991, for the Chicago White Sox at Baltimore.

The closest the Orioles came to a hit was when Miguel Tejada led off the seventh with a sharp grounder up the middle. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia raced to his right and dove. He backhanded the ball, stood up and fired to first, where the throw easily beat Tejada, who slid in headfirst.

"When I jumped up and missed that ball, I was thinking it was over," Buchholz said. "I mean that was the turn of the game for me, to see him make that play and throwing him out at first."

Baltimore nearly got its first hit in the sixth. After leadoff hitter Brian Roberts walked but was picked off by Buchholz, Corey Patterson hit a medium liner to left-center. Crisp got an outstanding jump and made a running, backhanded catch.

Buchholz nailed down his no-hitter a night after Scott Baker of the Twins came within three outs of a perfect game and two outs of a no-hitter against Kansas City.

On June 8 at Oakland, Red Sox teammate Curt Schilling came within one out of his first career no-hitter before Shannon Stewart lined a clean single to right.

It was the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history, and the first since April 27, 2002, by Derek Lowe against Tampa Bay. The score of that game also was 10-0.

The Orioles were no-hit for the first time since April 4, 2001, by Hideo Nomo, also of the Red Sox. It was the 14th time the franchise was been no-hit.

The Red Sox broke a four-game losing streak and maintained their five-game lead in the AL East over the New York Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay.

Boston scored a run in the second off Garrett Olson (1-3) and took a 4-0 lead in the fourth on David Ortiz's three-run double. The Red Sox made it 8-0 in the eighth on Mike Lowell's RBI double and Kevin Youkilis' three-run homer then added two runs in the eighth.

Buchholz made his first major league start on Aug. 17 when he was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to pitch the opener of a day-night doubleheader in Boston against the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed three earned runs in six innings and got the win in the 8-4 victory.

But the Red Sox told him then he was going back to Triple-A immediately after the game -- even if he threw a no-hitter.

"There's no where to go now," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "There's no going back to Triple-A. When he starts again, I don't know."

Buchholz drew another start when the Red Sox were forced to shuffle their rotation after Tim Wakefield was scratched from Friday's game. Buchholz found out in the middle of Pawtucket's game, gathered his things and headed to Boston.

He was called up Saturday when teams were allowed to expand their 25-man rosters.

"Now that I'm here, I feel like nothing can go wrong," Buchholz said. "I'll try to keep an even keep and remember it's not that easy all the time."

The Red Sox drafted Buchholz with a pick they obtained when they lost free agent Pedro Martinez to the New York Mets. He was chosen 42nd in the 2005 draft out of Angelina Junior College in Texas, where he went 12-1 with a 1.05 ERA that year.

With Class A Lowell that year, he was 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 15 outings, all starts. He split last season between two Class A teams -- he was 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA at Greenville and 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA at Wilmington.

Buchholz started this season with Double-A Portland, where he was 7-2 and led the Eastern League with a 1.77 ERA and 116 strikeouts with one loss in his last 15 outings. He was promoted July 12 to Pawtucket, going 1-3 with a 3.96 ERA in eight starts.

Olson, also promoted Saturday, allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings. Reliever Rocky Cherry, obtained Friday from the Chicago Cubs in a trade for starter Steve Trachsel, lasted just 1-3 of an inning and allowed four runs.


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