Morning Juice: The life of Lester has been a good one

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts at the Fens, where Jon Lester continues polishing a life resume that even George O'Leary couldn't pad. Lester — who beat blood cancer with chemotherapy, won a clinching game in the World Series and was nearly traded about 18 times this past off-season — tossed the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history and the first by a left-hander in nearly 52 years.

AL Game of the Day: Red Sox 7, Royals 0

Bon Jon: Lester is among several MLB figures in recent seasons who faced the Big "C" and beat it (or are leading the fight), and continued their careers. Each of the comebacks have been astonishing and the post following this one will detail 'em.

Critical Mass.: He came in with an OK ERA (3.95) and an unimpressive K/BB ratio (33/29) but Lester had been building toward a great game. He had a 2.13 ERA with 17 strikeouts, and opponents slugged .267 against him in his previous 4 starts.

There's always one: Jacoby Ellsbury saves the no-no with a diving catch of Jose Guillen's liner in the fourth.

Hug felt 'round the world: After the last out, manager Terry Francona just won't let go of his 24-year-old hurler. "He's a wonderful kid, not because he threw a no-hitter. He's a good kid because he's a good kid," Francona said. "We're proud of him all the time but to watch him do that tonight was beyond words. I tried to put it into words but it's hard because — what a story."

Twenty-two at the time: The breaking story in the Globe of Lester contracting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is scary.

* * *

NL Game of the Day: Cubs 7, Astros 2

Back with a vengeance: Where does this catch rank in Jim Edmonds history? Considering the spacious center field at Minute Maid, Tal's Hill being there, the flag pole sticking out, Edmonds' advanced age, the sniper fire (just joking, Hillary), it has to be up there. Edmonds reportedly was born with 20-15 vision, but he must lose sight of the ball for at least split-seconds when his back is turned.

QuesTec that baby: Speaking of vision, umpires appeared to botch a home-run call for the second consecutive day — making poor Geovany Soto run out a three-run dinger when he need not have done so. Come on, Blue, you don't want to be replaced by a robot, do ya'?

Eat the heart out: Hitting-streak twins Berkman and Pence combine to go 0-for-8.

* * *

Feelin' rundown (the rest of Monday's games):

Rays 7, Athletics 6 (13 inn.) — What a huge game we pulled out on the West Coast to keep pace with the Bostons. Evan Longoria appeared to hit bottom at .210 on May 15; He is 8-for-18 in his past four games, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the 13th. Frank Thomas had not homered since April 8, when his money still looked like this, so he went deep twice just to make sure. He went 102 at-bats without dingering, his longest drought since 1992-93, when he was a littler Big Hurt.

Twins 7, Rangers 6 (12 inn.)Howie Clark's single ends a battle of "Two teams who used to be the Washington Senators." Has BLS done a "Why the Twins should sign Barry Bonds" yet? Someone get on the phone, because .346-slugging middle infielder Brendan Harris dee-ached last night for the Twinkies. Harris got three hits (a regular Brunansky, this guy) but had to move to shortstop late in the game because someone pinch hit for starting SS Adam Everett. That meant the DH was forfeited and the pitcher's spot needed to bat, which was OK, because Bobby Korecky (sounds like a 9-year-old neighbor kid) got the Twins first-ever hit for a pitcher in an American League game. Nope, Jim Kaat never did it. Kaat hit .289 in '72, but Tony Oliva got most of the DH at-bats in '73 after the Supreme Court upheld Blomberg v. MLB and made the DH a reality in the Junior Circuit. Thanks to Kelly Thesier of for the tip on Korecky, who also got the win.

Nationals 4, Phillies 0 — The 3,000th win in Nationals history (counting Montreal Expos history) goes to Tim Redding. We have a ways to go, but if Ryan Zimmerman doesn't get his average up, Redding could make the All-Star team — which'd be pretty neat. He's just kind of been hanging on to the big leagues since '01, but he's 6-3 and in the top 10 in the NL in WHIP. He might actually deserve to go, and who saw that coming? Let me guess. He was the third-round pick in your fantasy draft. Virtual slap!

Rockies 4, Giants 3Clint Barmes hits a dinger to continue his excruciatingly long recovery from Falling-Down-the-Stairs disease, which was exacerbated by Tulowitzkitis in '07.

Cardinals 8, Padres 2Albert Pujols jacks a couple of monstrous home runs — one of which landed in some guy's apartment in San Luis Obispo, it looked like. Ryan Ludwick went yard, too, thanks to Scott Hairston's buttery glove. Cesar Izturis also hit a homer. When's the last time the Pads hit four homers in a game at PETCO? And why are puppy pads so expensive? Without Peavy, the Pads soon might be dropping to the Mexican League. Can they take the Giants with 'em?

Dodgers 6, Reds 5 — His name sounds like that of a reality show interior decorator, but get baseball player Blake "That Couch Has GOT To Go" DeWitt up there with the bags loaded, and look out. He's 6-for-6 with 12 RBIs, including the game-winner. Adam Dunn went deep again, and is up to .231, but this ain't the Indians, so it wasn't enough.


Photo of the Day: The reason the Royals' line read '0-0-1'

Trying anything to break up a no-hitter by Boston's Jon Lester, Royals infielder Mark Grudzielanek lets one drop Monday night as Tony Pena encourages him. When told later that the play counted as an error against the Royals and not a hit, Grudzielanek said he wished "to change his plea."


Fantasy Freaks

Jon Lester (Red Sox) 9 IP, 2 BB, 9 K, Win, 3.41 ERA (down from 5.40 six starts ago)

Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

Albert (Cards) 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR

Ryan Ludwick (Cards) 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

Brandon Phillips (Reds) 4-5, 2 R, RBI, SB

Matt Kemp (Dodgers) 4-4, RBI

Frank Thomas (Athletics) 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI


Fantasy Flakes

Lance Berkman (Astros) 0-4, 3 K, .389 BA (17-game hitting streak jinxed by the Stew and Tony Stewart; still a maniac)

Brad Penny (Dodgers) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 5.34 ERA

Luke Hochevar (Royals) 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, Loss

* * *

Big Talker

{ysp:block}"You know what? I've been too low-key, really haven't had any fire ever since I was going through my funk. I didn't have any cockiness when I'm out there, no swagger, no nothing. I think that was more of the problem more than rolling over (on swings) or not getting good pitches. I just didn't have any swagger, didn't have any confidence. That's part of my game since I've been in the big leagues. Every time I go up there I think I'm the best player out there, so it's been kind of rough. I came out there with fire today."{ysp:block} — Nats outfielder Lastings Milledge, who raised his average to .241 with a 2-4, 2 RBI game.

* * *