Cristian Javier’s parents had a notion he’d deliver something special in Game 4 of the World Series. And the Houston Astros starter, with three of his fellow hurlers, would prove them right.
The Astros on Wednesday produced the first combined no-hitter in World Series history – and the Fall Classic’s second no-hitter overall – as Javier and Houston’s bullpen blanked the host Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2 and secure their place in baseball lore.
Javier tossed six innings of no-hit ball while starting for the Astros, striking out nine and walking two over 97 pitches before being relieved.
Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero then each pitched a perfect inning before Ryan Pressly closed out the Phillies in the ninth, leaving the hosts without a hit at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
After the last out, Javier ran from his dugout to hug Pressly on the mound, surrounded by their celebrating teammates. In an interview on the field, he was asked when he knew the night would be special.
“It’s funny. My parents told me today I was going to throw a no-hitter, and thanks to God, I was able to accomplish that,” Javier told Fox Sports, via a translator.
Javier, who hails from the Dominican Republic, later told reporters his father had arrived just a day earlier in the US to watch him pitch.
Javier departed the game with a 5-0 lead, with the Astros scoring all their runs in the fifth. Houston manager Dusty Baker said postgame he was thinking of Javier and protecting his health when deciding to pull him after the sixth, noting Javier’s increasing pitch count and the strength of the Astros’ bullpen.
“It’s always tough to take a guy out, but you have to weigh the no-hitter and history versus trying to win this game and get back to 2-2 in the World Series,” Baker said.
The only previous no-hitter in 118 years of World Series history came from one pitcher, Don Larsen, who tossed a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
The Astros now hold the distinction of throwing the first combined no-hitter not just in the World Series but in postseason history, according to Major League Baseball. Outside the Astros’ and Larsen’s feats, the only other no-hitter in the postseason was tossed by Roy Halladay for the Phillies in the 2010 National League Divisional Series.
Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson noted the Phillies had a no-hitter pitched against them by the New York Mets earlier this year, then won the next day.
“These guys, they got a short memory. They’re going to go home tonight. They’re going to go to bed and come back in here tomorrow and prep and compete like they always do,” Thomson said.
This is Houston’s second no-hitter this season. On June 25, Javier, Hector Neris and Pressly combined for one against the Yankees.
The Astros catcher who called his team’s pitches Wednesday, Christian Vazquez, also ran to embrace Pressly after the game. Houston’s pitching coach, Joshua Miller, praised Vazquez for his role.
“He’s calling every pitch, he’s seeing the movement, he’s seeing the hitter reaction,” Miller said, according to MLB.com. “It’s huge, knowing what to call and when to maybe vacate the general game plan in certain situations.”
Vazquez said he did not think of completing Wednesday’s no-hitter until “maybe the last inning” due to the potent Phillies lineup, which slugged its way to a Game 3 victory Tuesday.
“We’ve not finished the job yet, but this is very, very special for us. And when we get old we’re going to remember this,” Vazquez said.