For the first time in MLB playoff history, there was a combined no-hitter.
The Houston Astros’ Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly combined to not hit the Philadelphia Phillies in their 5-0 victory in Game 4 of the World Series, tying the series at two.
It was the third no-hitter in playoff history — two of which were pitched at Citizens Bank Park — and the second pitched in the Fall Classic.
Don Larsen pitched the first playoff no-hitter on Oct. 8, 1956 in Game 5 of the World Series as the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers. In Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series on October 6, then-Phillies Roy Halladay did not hit the Cincinnati Reds.
Funny enough, Dusty Baker, the current Astros manager, was the manager of this Reds team.
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Javier got the start for the Astros, and in his 97 pitches, he threw six hitless innings while striking out nine and walking two. In his last eight appearances (over 41.0 innings), he has allowed just two earned runs (0.44 ERA).
Javier also started the Astros’ combined no-hitter starting June 25 against the Yankees in the Bronx. That afternoon, Javier went seven hitless innings against the Bombers, while Hector Neris and Pressly had the final six outs.
Abreu was the next man out of the bullpen and he struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh. Dusty Baker then brought in Montero, and he retired the team in the eighth.
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Then it was an easy choice for Baker, as he brought Pressly closer. He pulled out Brandon Marsh to start the bottom of the ninth, but walked Kyle Schwarber (who was the Phillies’ first base runner since the third inning). But Rhys Hoskins flew out and JT Realmuto found himself third to end it.
It’s kind of ironic that the no-hitter comes just 24 hours after Game 3 starter Lance McCullers was seen as tipping the pitches – he allowed five home runs in the Astros’ 7-0 loss on Tuesday, and videos circulated of what could have been a say with his legs.
But on Wednesday, the Phillies looked distraught all night.
The Astros had a few early rallies, but ultimately couldn’t cash in as their scoreless streak reached 16 innings. But by round five, they had had enough. The Astros charged the no-outs and Yordan Alvarez at the plate. It ended Aaron Nola’s night, but Jose Alvarado’s first pitch hit Alvarez, bringing in the first inning of the game. The next batter, Alex Bregman, drove in two runs with a double. Kyle Tucker’s fly sack made it 4-0, and Yuli Gurriel kicked another run with a single.
The win forces Game 6, which will be played Saturday night in Houston. Game 7, if necessary, would be played on Sunday evening. It also allows Houston to avoid what would have been a devastating 3-1 hole.
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Justin Verlander, known for struggling in the World Series (6.07 ERA in eight appearances), will receive the ball for Game 5 Thursday in Philadelphia at 8:03 p.m. ET. The Phillies will face Noah Syndergaard.