Cristian Javier’s parents thought he would deliver something special in Game 4 of the World Series. And the Houston Astros starter, along with three of his fellow pitchers, would prove them right.
The Astros produced the first combined no-hitter in World Series history — and the second no-hitter in the Fall Classic — on Wednesday as the bullpen of Javier and Houston shut out the host Phillies. of Philadelphia 5-0 to tie the best of seven series at 2-2 and secure their place in baseball lore.
Javier threw six no-hitter innings heading out for the Astros, striking out nine and walking two of 97 pitches before being relieved.
Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero then each pitched a perfect inning before Ryan Pressly finished the Phillies in ninth, leaving the hosts without a hit at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
After the final out, Javier ran from his dugout to hug Pressly on the mound, surrounded by their celebrating teammates. In an on-court interview, he was asked when he knew the night would be special.
“It’s funny. My parents told me today that I was going to throw a no-hitter, and thank God I was able to accomplish that,” Javier told Fox Sports, via translator.
Javier, originally from the Dominican Republic, later told reporters that his father had arrived in the United States just a day early to watch him pitch.
Javier left the game with a 5-0 lead, with the Astros scoring all of their runs in the fifth. Houston manager Dusty Baker said after the game that he was thinking of Javier and protecting his health by deciding to retire him after the sixth, noting Javier’s increasing pitching count and the strength of the Astros’ bullpen.
“It’s always tough to knock a guy out, but you have to weigh the no-hitter and the story versus trying to win this game and come back to 2-2 in the World Series,” Baker said.
The only previous no-hitter in the 118-year history of the World Series came from a pitcher, Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
The Astros now hold the distinction of throwing the first combined no-hitter not only in the World Series but in playoff history, according to Major League Baseball. Outside of the Astros and Larsen’s exploits, the only other non-hitter in the playoffs was pitched by Roy Halladay for the Phillies in the 2010 National League Divisional Series.
Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson noted that the Phillies had a no-hitter thrown against them by the New York Mets earlier this year and then won the next day.
“These guys, they have short memories. They will go home tonight. They’re going to lay down and come back here tomorrow and prepare and compete like they always do,” Thomson said.
It’s Houston’s second no-hitter this season. On June 25, Javier, Hector Neris and Pressly combined for one against the Yankees.
Astros catcher who called his team’s shots on Wednesday, Christian Vazquez, also ran over to give Pressly a hug after the game. Houston pitching coach Joshua Miller praised Vazquez for his role.
“He calls every pitch, he sees the movement, he sees the batter’s reaction,” Miller said, according to MLB.com. “It’s huge, knowing what to call and when maybe overriding the general game plan in certain situations.”
Vazquez said he didn’t think about going Wednesday’s no-hitter until “maybe the last inning” because of the Phillies’ powerful lineup, which battled its way to a win in the Game 3 on Tuesday.
“We haven’t finished the job yet, but it’s very, very special for us. And when we get old, we will remember that,” Vazquez said.