Justin Lehr‘s first major league appearance was in 2004 with the A’s, then he spent ’05 and ’06 with Milwaukee, not exactly distinguishing himself in a relief role. His big league career would then go on hiatus for a couple of seasons before he resurfaced with the pitching-strapped Reds as a starter in 2009.
Two starts into his first stint as a member of a major league rotation, the 32-year-old Lehr took the hill against the Chicago Cubs, the hottest team in the National League since the break. And all he did was pitch a complete-game, 4-hit shutout.
It took the unheralded Lehr 117 pitches to go nine innings. His hill opponent, established veteran starter Rich Harden, needed 107 pitches to make it through 6. He gave up only 2 earned runs in that span, striking out 9 and walking 4. Not good enough.
The Cubs never got a runner past second against Lehr, and only really threatened him in the 4th, when they got 2 runners on with 2 out (alas, Alfonso Soriano would strand both runners by striking out). One of those nights.