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Guillen gives Varitek credit for no-no

Guillen gives Varitek credit for no-no

BOSTON -- Left-hander Jon Lester got the no-hit glory, but the Royals' Jose Guillen was thinking about another Red Sox player during the afterglow on Tuesday.

"You never want to see a no-hitter go against you like that, but, unfortunately, that situation happened," Guillen said. "I give a lot of credit to the pitcher, but most of the credit I give to Jason Varitek."

Varitek, who caught Lester's no-hitter on Monday night, became the first in history to catch four no-hitters in his career. He was behind the plate for Clay Buchholz's no-hitter last September, for Derek Lowe's in '02 and for Hideo Nomo's in '01.

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That doesn't surprise Guillen.

"He one of the smartest guys, the smartest catcher," Guillen said. "He's the one that got that pitching staff going that way about [its] business.

"You want to guess and you're looking for a pitch, it's like Jason is reading your mind. And the pitchers listen to him about the pitch he wants in a certain situation. You think, 'OK, I'm going to take a pitch,' and here you go, he comes with a strike there; and you want to swing, he comes with a breaking pitch."

Varitek, the Red Sox captain, has been with them since 1997, and he has caught the most games in club history, 1,179.

"He's a big value to this team, and they should be proud of what they have there," Guillen said. "He's a special guy. That's a lot of work to do to be a catcher. It's not just catching the ball and throwing it back to the pitcher.

"You've got to be pretty smart and know the situation and, from what I understand, he's a big student of the game. He studies every hitter and he gets in your head. He's pretty special."

Guillen came the closest to getting a hit against Lester, but his sinking liner in the fourth inning was plucked by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

"I didn't hit it hard, I hit it pretty much off the end of the bat," Guillen said. "I really thought that ball was going to drop."

The Royals' Mark Grudzielanek said the possibility of a no-hitter really didn't hit him until after he was pulled out of the game in the seventh inning with the score 7-0.

"I wasn't even thinking about a no-hitter, but when we came up in the seventh or eighth, I thought, 'OK, we've got to do this right now,'" he said. "It's a weird feeling, as far as being on the other side of a no-hitter. A strange feeling."

Royals manager Trey Hillman didn't really consider the possibility "of being on the wrong side of history" until after the eighth inning.

"But I was still hopeful, because we had a different hitter in there for him to see in [Alberto] Callaspo, who is typically more patient," Hillman said. "But that's tough duty when a guy's got that kind of stuff."

With the 37-year-old Grudzielanek being rested, Callaspo batted in his spot. He whistled a ground ball foul, but Lester struck him out to end the game.

Royals catcher Miguel Olivo wasn't thinking no-hitter.

"Not really, because my last two at-bats, I thought I was going to get a hit," Olivo said. "I felt very comfortable, but he got everything together. He was really nasty, he never repeated the same pitch to me in any at-bat."

Olivo was on the other side of a no-hitter in 2006, catching Anibal Sanchez's gem for Florida against Arizona.

"I want to catch another one," Olivo said. "Maybe two more."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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