Ankit, Christian Xavier and the Houston Astros desperately needed to figure out how to keep Bryce Harper and the Phillies in the ballpark the night before
How about a no-hitter, would he?
Javier and Houston’s bullpen combined on just the second no-hitter in World Series history, silencing a rapidly expanding lineup and enthusiastic fans as the Astros thrashed the Phillies 5-0 on Wednesday night, here Even matchups in two games.
The only previous no-hitter in the World Series was a perfect game by Don Larson of the New York Yankees in 1956 against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Javier and the three relievers weren’t perfect, but they were close. Also, he’d done it before: Javier, the starter in a United no-hitter against the New York Yankees in June, was pulled this time after 97 pitches with a no-hitter in progress.
Brian Abreu, Rafael Monteiro and Ryan Pressley followed with hitless innings, ensuring this year’s championship will be decided at Minute Maid Park this weekend.
A quartet of pitchers pose with catcher Christian Vazquez near the dugout moments after the game, each holding a game ball for a picture. It’s a picture no one could have imagined 24 hours ago, when Philadelphia set a series record by scoring five home runs in a 7-0 romp in Game 3.
“That’s crazy, man,” said Vazquez. “It was special.”
Javier said his parents predicted Tuesday night that he was going to throw a no-hitter.
“I was trying to be positive, trying to be positive, trying to attack the strike zone, holding on to God,” he said through the translator. “Thank god I was able to get it done.”
Game 5 is Thursday night in Philly. Astros ace Justin Verlander will again chase that elusive first World Series win when he faces Noah Syndergaard.
They can only hope to pitch as well as Javier.
By the time Wright, 25, of the Dominican Republic left, the only hit producer from the Philadelphia side to appear on the scoreboard was rocker Bruce Springsteen, pictured surrounded by Phillies fans.
And after a few innings, as fans began to leave Citizens Bank Park, the postseason stars were indeed a boon for Harper and The Phillies. First lady Jill Biden, a famous Phillies fan, was among those in a crowd of 45,693 who had little to shout about.
“To me? I mean, a loss is a loss,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “That’s how I see it.”
Alex Bregman hit Houston, which was desperately in need, a two-run double in the fifth inning of five, and that was enough for the Astros.
Fully in charge, Javier scored nine, walked two and barely allowed any loud contact. He took on a club that was 6–0 at home this season, while scoring 17 home runs.
Opponents hit only .170 against Javier during the regular season, the lowest score in baseball among pitchers with at least 130 innings.
Still on the mound, Javier created his own calm in the middle of the Phillies’ storm. Leaning back on the grass, straightening his hat, rubbing the ball, taking a deep breath, he proceeded at his own pace.
Next year, Javier will no longer be able to act that way. Major League Baseball is setting a pitch clock—15 seconds for a throw with an empty base, 20 with someone on base—and Javier often exceeds those limits this evening, drawn from crowds eager for action. Take blessings.
Anyway, it worked in the beginning.
When Javier kept the Phillies scoreless in the first three innings, it was no small feat. None of the visiting pitchers had done so during the latter part of the season in this buoyant ballpark.
In Javier’s last start, he dismissed the Yankees on a hit in 5 1/3 innings in the Bronx during the AL Championship Series.
Javier’s performance comes a year after Atlanta’s Ian Anderson was dismissed after playing five hitless innings against Houston.
The Phillies’ closest to the hit came in the third inning, when Kyle Schwarber scored a hard foul at first base. On fair balls, nothing.
“That’s good,” said Schwarber sarcastically. “I think we’ll be in the history books.”
Philadelphia was hit with no loss by five New York Mets pitchers in April, one of several crushing losses that led to the firing of manager Joe Girardi two months later.
“We came back the next day and won,” said then-bench coach Thomson. “So these guys, they got a short memory.”
Maybe it was the team switch to Orange top, or lucky lunch manager Dusty Baker spot Philly, but the Astros certainly looked different than they did last night, when they were out on a weak five singles. Were.
Blank for 16 innings, Bregman and the Astros showed their postseason pedigree when they broke out against Aaron Nola in fifth, putting in a hitting clinch by not trying to do too much at the plate.
Singles from Chas McCormick, Altuve and Jeremy Pea loaded the base and ended Nola. Relief pitcher Jose Alvarado forced Yordan Alvarez into a run with his first pitch, and then Bregman pitched the 100 mph heater the other way for a double of two runs.
Kyle Tucker followed with a sacrificial fly and Yuli Gurriel added an RBI single, and just like that, for the fourth game in a row, a team took a 5–0 lead.
Houston’s hit songs also resonated far and wide.
“Let’s go, Astros!” The highlights and scores were shown at the Toyota Center when the Houston Rockets hosted the Los Angeles Clippers in an NBA game.
And the figures are to be Astros cheers at Houston’s NRG Stadium on Thursday night, when the Texans take on the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL’s only unbeaten team, in a matchup that will be played at the same time as Game 5.
It was quiet in Philly, however, as fans who wanted to see victory were reduced to hoping for only one hit.
Astros: Verlander is 0-6 with an ERA of 6.07 in eight World Series after failing to maintain a five-run lead in the opener. Verlander is likely to win his third Cy Young Award later this month, but his struggle at the Fall Classic is a surprise. Again, Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Seaver often lost the record in the Fall Classic despite pitching well, and Don Sutton was hit hard. And fellow Cooperstown members Tom Glavin, Randy Johnson and Mike Musina all had sub-500 points in the post-season.
Phillies: RHP Noah Syndergaard was ready to start Game 3 before it was washed out on Monday night. He has pitched three times this season – including on a three-inning start versus Atlanta – and has allowed one run in five innings. His last start altogether was October 1.