"I was a nervous wreck from the fourth inning on," said Butera, who worked with Beckett over a 128-pitch afternoon. "He told me he had never gotten a no-hitter into the fourth and I'm like, great, now I'm off my thinking pattern. But he said it every inning. You try not to think too far ahead. One hitter and one pitch at a time. It never gets old."
Beckett had actually thrown 6 2/3 innings without allowing a hit with the Red Sox on June 3, 2009.
In fact, as the game went on, Beckett got better, and Butera could feel something special happening. After two innings, Beckett's count was at 39 pitches, but the average per inning dropped with each trip to the mound. Not that it was going to change anything.
"I wasn't coming out," Beckett said. "Not even at 200 pitches."
Butera saw Beckett's motivation and confidence grow throughout the game.
"They put in some good at-bats against him in the first two innings," Butera said. "They fouled off some tough pitches. To his credit, I don't think he made any adjustments. He kept doing what he was doing in the first inning.
"I was just as excited for Josh as I was for Liriano. We won the game, we won the series, we won the road trip, now maybe we can get some momentum. These things don't happen every day. They happen once in a lifetime, maybe."
Well, twice in a lifetime for some.
Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.