Javier, bullpen combine on no-hitter as Astros tie Series

PHILADELPHIA — The Houston Astros completed the first combined no-hitter in postseason history Wednesday night, riding six scoreless innings from Cristian Javier and another three from a trio of relievers in an emphatic 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 from the World Series.

The win tied the series at two games apiece and put Javier in extremely rare company, along with former New York Yankees right-hander Don Larsen — author of a perfect game in 1956 — as the only pitcher in World Series history to completed an outing with no hits allowed in six or more innings.

Javier’s start was a re-enactment of the combined no-hitter in which he played a key role against the Yankees on June 25, making Javier the first pitcher to start multiple combined no-hitters in his career, let alone in the same season. That Saturday afternoon, Javier left Yankee Stadium after throwing 115 pitches and making 21 outs. A little over four months later, the 25-year-old right-hander was pulled after recording 18 outs and throwing 97 pitches.

Both times he handed the game to a dominant collection of helpers.

On Wednesday, Bryan Abreu took the ball in the seventh inning and hit the side despite facing the heart of the Phillies order. Rafael Montero took over in eighth place, knocking out all three batsmen, the last on a line from Jean Segura hitting Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker directly. Astros closer Ryan Pressly finished in ninth place, just like he did in late June. This time he worked around a walk to record three outs on a Brandon Marsh strikeout, a Rhys Hoskins flyout and finally a JT Realmuto groundout.

There have been 18 combined no-hitters in major league history, but none came particularly close to a postseason appearance. The only other that spanned seven innings was played by the Atlanta Braves against those Astros in Game 3 of last year’s World Series.

Javier, one of the sport’s most underrated starting pitchers, used his deceptive fastball to hit nine batters and only make two walks through the first six innings. Early in the fourth he started a stretch of five straight strikeouts. In the sixth round, the pitcher with the lowest groundball rate in the majors benefitted from three consecutive groundouts during the regular season. At this point, Javier became the first pitcher to reach six no-hit innings in the World Series since Jerry Koosman in 1969.

“It hasn’t arrived yet,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said in his on-pitch interview after the game, referring to Javier’s performance. “The sky’s the limit for this young man.”

The Astros scored all five of their runs in the fifth and loaded the bass with no out against Aaron Nola before left reliever Jose Alvarado splattered Yordan Alvarez with a fastball and then gave a two-run double to Alex Bregman, a sacrificial fly to Kyle Tucker and a run-scoring single for Yuli Gurriel.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34936784/javier-bullpen-combine-no-hitter-astros-tie-series Javier, bullpen combine on no-hitter as Astros tie Series

Emma Bowman

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