BOSTON – As meaningful as a no-hitter – let alone a perfect game – is for a pitcher, those kind of gems are just a meaningful to the catcher who called the game.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has yet to catch one. He came within one pitch Friday night of finally doing so. A first-pitch changeup with two outs in the sixth inning that Blue Jays No. 9 hitter Maicer Izturis lashed for a double to wipe away Jon Lester’s perfect game.
Saltalamacchia is going to be seeing that one in his sleep for a while.
"As soon as the game was over I started thinking about it,” he said. “ Changeup, first pitch. I'm going to have nightmares about it, to be honest with you.
“But they're a good hitting ball club ... they hit a couple of balls hard."
The Blue Jays were aggressive, swinging early in counts, often on the first pitch.
"You know they're aggressive so you don't want to groove one in there,” Saltalamacchia said. “But you want to get ahead. You don't want to nitpick the corners."
Lester didn’t waste any time nitpicking. He needed just six pitches to get through the first inning, and 58 pitches (39 for strikes) to get through his first five perfect innings. In all, he threw 118 pitches, 79 for strikes.
"My job was easy,” Saltalamacchia said. “I put the glove there and he hit it."
"Tonight I don't think whoever we were facing could have hit him."
Just Maicer Izturis.
* The Sox are now 5-2 against the Blue Jays this season, outscoring them 44-20.
* Despite the win, the Sox went 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base. They left at least one runner on base in each of the first seven innings. In their last eight games they are 13-for-60 (.200), with runners in scoring position, leaving 57 runners on base.
* Saltalamacchia went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He has hit safely in each of his last four games with an at-bat and in 10 of his last 12 starts.
* David Ortiz has struggled since snapping his 15-game hitting streak (27 games going back to last season) on Wednesday. Including his first-inning double play on Friday, he ended innings in six straight at-bats. He is now 0 for his last 16, with three strikeouts and one intentional walk, leaving 18 runners on base in that stretch.
* Shane Victorino reached in four of his five plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with two walks. He has now reached base in 11 of 23 plate appearances over his last 5 games. He has reached base safely at least twice in his last three games and in three of his last four games, going 9-for-21 (.429) with a double, two home runs, two RBI and two walks.
* Daniel Nava went 1-for-3 with a two runs scored, two RBI, and a double. He scored the first Sox run of the game.