Christian 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, will prove them right.
The Astros produced the first combined no-hitter in World Series history — and the second in the Fall Classic overall — on Wednesday as Javier and Houston routed the host Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 to even the best-of-seven series at 2. -2 and secure their place in baseball lore.
Javier threw six scoreless innings while starting for the Astros, striking out nine and walking two over 97 pitches before being relieved.
Brian Abreu and Rafael Montero then pitched a perfect game before Ryan Pressley shut out the Phillies in the ninth, leaving the hosts hitless at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
After the final out, Javier ran from his dugout to hug Pressley on the mound, surrounded by their celebrating teammates. In an on-field interview, he was asked when he knew the night was going to be special.
“It’s funny. My parents told me today I was going to throw a no-hitter, and thank God, I was able to do it,” Javier told Fox Sports through a translator.
Javier, who hails from the Dominican Republic, later told reporters that his father had arrived in the United States just a day earlier to watch him play.
Javier left the game with a 5-0 lead, and the Astros scored all of their runs in the fifth. Houston manager Dusty Baker said after the game that he was thinking about Javier and protecting his health when he decided to pull him after the sixth, noting Javier’s increased pitch count and the strength of the Astros’ bullpen.
“It’s always tough to take a guy out, but you have to weigh the setbacks and the history against trying to win this game and get 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 threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
The Astros now have the distinction of throwing the first combined no-hitter not only in the World Series but in postseason history, according to Major League Baseball. Outside of the feats of the Astros and Larsen, the only other no-hitter in the postseason was thrown by Roy Halladay for the Phillies in the 2010 National League Division Series.
Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson pointed out that the Phillies had no hits against them from the New York Mets earlier this year and then won the next day.
“These guys have short memories. They will go home tonight. They’re going to go to bed and come back here tomorrow and prepare and compete like they always do,” Thomson said.
It’s the second no-hitter for Houston this season. On June 25, Javier, Hector Neris and Presley combined for one against the Yankees.
Astros catcher who called his team’s pitches Wednesday, Christian Vasquez, also ran to hug Pressley after the game. Houston coach Joshua Miller praised Vazquez for his role.
“He’s calling every pitch, watching the movement, watching the hitter’s reaction,” Miller said, according to MLB.com. “It’s huge, knowing how to call and when to break away from the general game plan in certain situations.”
Vazquez said he didn’t think about ending Wednesday’s no-hitter until “maybe the last inning” because of the Phillies’ potent lineup, which slowed its way to a Game 3 victory on Tuesday.
“We’re not done yet, but this is very, very special for us. And when we get old, we’ll remember this,” Vasquez said.