By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) -Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier and three relievers combined to throw just the second no-hitter in World Series history on Wednesday as Houston beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 in Game Four to even up the ‘Fall Classic’.
Javier went six innings and struck out nine, Bryan Abreu struck out the side in the seventh, Rafael Montero threw a perfect eighth before Ryan Pressly closed out the third no-hitter in MLB postseason history.
Javier rushed to the mound and lifted Pressly in the air in celebration after third baseman Alex Bregman fielded a tough ground ball to seal the win.
Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series and the Phillies’ Roy Halladay tossed a no-hitter in the 2010 Division Series in a game that was also played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
“My parents told me I was going to throw a no-hitter and thanks to God I was able to accomplish that,” Javier, a native of the Dominican Republic, said through an interpreter.
“They told me that last night.”
Javier’s parents were on hand to witness his performance, with his father only arriving in the United States the day before the game.
“I just tried to give my best, give my family the best that I could and to have my dad here so he could enjoy the success that I’ve had,” said Javier, who joined the Astros in 2020.
A day after Philadelphia exploded for five home runs to win Game Three 7-0, their hitters had no answer to the 25-year-old righty’s electric fast ball and deceptive slider.
Philadelphia had been unbeaten at home and averaging seven runs a game this postseason before their bats fell silent.
The Astros did all their damage at the plate in a five-run fifth inning that was highlighted by Bregman smacking an 0-2 offering into right field for a two-run double.
Astros catcher Christian Vazquez said Wednesday’s win was all the more special because it guarantees the series will return to Houston for a Game Six on Saturday and, if necessary, Game Seven on Sunday.
“We’re happy to split the series,” he said.
“Now we can finish it off at home.”
Javier told reporters that he could return to the mound in Game Seven on three day’s rest if needed.
The Phillies were also on the wrong side of a combined ‘no-no’ in April and manager Rob Thomson said his resilient squad will continue to look forward.
“We were no hit earlier in the year in New York against the Mets and we came back the next day and won,” Thomson said.
“So these guys, they’ve 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.
Game Five is on Thursday in Philadelphia.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Schmollinger/Peter Rutherford)