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“So they’re both up there. They both mean a heck of a lot to me, and something I’ll cherish for a long time.”

Lester and Jonathan Papelbon combined to one-hit the Royals on July 18, 2006.

Buchholz no-hit the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 1 in just his second major league start.

Mel Parnell was the last Red Sox lefty to throw a no-hitter, beating the Chicago White Sox on July 14, 1956. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan is the only other person in history to no-hit the Royals.

“We’re on the wrong part of history,” Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said.

Varitek also caught Buchholz’s no-hitter, along with gems by Hideo Nomo and Derek Lowe.

“It’s so exciting to be part of one. Each one is so different,” said Varitek, who handed Lester the ball from the final pitch but didn’t have much to say. “Just let him enjoy the moment.

“It was his moment.”

Lester, who was the prime prospect in offseason trade talks to bring Johan Santana to Boston, hugged Francona and then tipped his hat to the fans for one more big cheer.

“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.”

Luke Hochevar (3-3) allowed seven runs on five hits and six walks in six innings for Kansas City, which had won six of its last seven.

The Red Sox took advantage of Hochevar with five runs in the third, scoring their first run on a double play and then loading the bases on walks after Ellsbury tripled. Manny Ramirez walked to bring in another run, and then Mike Lowell hit a high popup that was dropped by second baseman Mike Grudzielanek for another two runs.

Youkilis bounced a line drive over the short wall in right to make it 5-0. Varitek added a two-run homer in the sixth.