Astros throw combined no-hitter in Game 4 against Phillies, make history after Cristian Javier’s brilliant start

Houston Astros pitcher Cristian Javier pitched the first six innings of a historic no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on November 02, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros — led by starter Cristian Javier — threw the second no-hitter in World Series history. Javier and three relief pitchers combined to shut out the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 Wednesday night, 5-0, and pull Houston even into the series in historic fashion.

The combined no-no joins Don Larsen’s perfect play for the 1956 New York Yankees in World Series lore. It’s the third no-hitter in the playoffs and is in the same ballpark as the second: Roy Halladay’s NLDS no-no for the Phillies in 2010.

Javier, the preternaturally calm 25-year-old Astros starter, went six hitless innings to help Houston calm the Philadelphia crowd and bounce back from a tough Game 3, striking out nine and walking two. After 97 pitches, manager Dusty Baker shook his hand and turned to the bullpen. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each pitched an inning to close out the game. Overall, the Astros struck out 14 Phillies and gave up 18 in a row between the third and ninth inning walks.

Javier will end his first full season as a major league starter by entering the record books as the author of the longest World Series no-hitter start outside of Larsen’s biker jacket.

It eclipses Atlanta Braves pitcher Ian Anderson, who went five innings without allowing a hit in Game 3 of the 2021 World Series against the Astros. The Braves bullpen finally allowed the first hit leading to the eighth.

It wasn’t a coincidence either. Javier threw seven flawless frames to start a no-hitter combined against the Yankees earlier this season, and allowed baseball’s lowest second-half batting average among starting pitchers.

The Phillies were also the victims of a combined hit earlier this year, going no hit against the New York Mets in April.

Coming off of a major breakout that established him as a bona fide starter, Javier is nicknamed “El Reptil” – The Reptile – because early in his career coaches judged him cold-blooded, a descriptor which now seems particularly appropriate. He tamed the Phillies — who bombarded Lance McCullers Jr. a night earlier in a Game 3 win — mostly with his fastball. It whips him high in the area, creating the feeling that he is riding. Then he plays on it with a biting slider and the occasional curveball. Of Javier’s 97 shots in Game 4, 70 were fastballs.

Astros starter Cristian Javier's pitch board against the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series.  (Courtesy of Baseball Savant)

Astros starter Cristian Javier’s pitch board against the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series. (Courtesy of Baseball Savant)

All of Houston’s points came in the fifth inning. They chased Phillies starter Aaron Nola by whipping three straight singles. When Phillies relief star Jose Alvarado arrived, he dunked Yordan Alvarez to drive in the first inning, then Alex Bregman followed with a two-RBI brace.

The Astros’ win guarantees the series will return to Houston, requiring at least six games to crown a champion. Game 5 will still take place in Philadelphia. It starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

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