For all the rough patches Clay Buchholz has gone through lately, it’s easy to forget he once was one of baseball’s most exciting pitchers.
Buchholz made his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 17, 2007. And while he picked up the win in a solid outing, it was the Texas native’s next appearance that had Red Sox fans salivating.
On Sept. 1, 2007 — exactly nine years ago today — Buchholz absolutely flummoxed the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park in just his second big league start. The lanky 23-year-old right-hander threw a dominating mix of lively fastballs, diving changeups and devastating curveballs that kept the O’s guessing.
That excellent arsenal helped Buchholz rack up nine strikeouts, and his last made history. With a no-hitter still intact and Nick Markakis at the plate, Buchholz threw a looping curveball that froze the Orioles batter for strike three, giving Buchholz the incredible no-hitter in Boston’s 10-0 win.
Buchholz became just the third pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter in his first or second major league start. It was the 17th no-hitter in Red Sox history, putting Buchholz in a group that doesn’t even include past Boston aces such as Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
As usually is the case, Buchholz received a little help from his defense, as some guy named Dustin Pedroia made a diving stop on a Miguel Tejada ground ball to second base in the seventh inning.
“I was thinking it was over,” Buchholz said after the game, via ESPN.com. “When he made that play, I knew something was meant to happen tonight. It was an incredible moment in my life.”
Buchholz has had a bumpy ride since then — he was shut down for the season with shoulder fatigue later that month — but he’ll always have this iconic moment in Red Sox history.