PHILADELPHIA — Dominican starter Cristian Javier led the second no-hitter all-time in the World Series and his offense knocked out American Aaron Nola in one inning as the Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 on Wednesday to tie the Major League Baseball Fall Classic at two wins apiece.
Javier went six innings, his compatriots Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero one each and North American closer Ryan Pressly silenced most of the 45,693 fans who filled Citizens Bank Park.
To date, the only World Series No-Hitter was a perfect game by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of 1956 on October 8 at Yankee Stadium.
In Game 1 of the 2010 Phillies-Cincinnati Reds Division Series, right-hander Roy Halladay posted only the second no-hitter in postseason history, a 4-0 hometown win at Citizens Bank Park.
Game 5, on the same stage, will pit right-handers Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard on Thursday. With the series tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 was declared 70.3% of the time.
Javier, who had not given up more than two hits in his last seven appearances, including the regular season and the postseason, gave up two runs and struck out nine batters on 97 pitches. He joined Larsen as the only offense to hold opponents hitless through at least six innings.
Philadelphia, which entered the game undefeated, hitting 17 home runs and averaging seven runs in six home games in the postseason, had its best chance against Javier in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Javier grounded out to his second batter of the game, outfielder Brandon Marsh, who stole second base.
But Javier struck out outfielder Kyle Schwarber and dominated first baseman Rhys Hoskins with a foul fly ball to first base. The right-hander struck out JT Realmut, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos in the fourth through seven to play, and Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott started fifth for five in a row, one shy of the World Series record.
Philadelphia’s batters didn’t have a single through the first five innings against the Astros’ flamethrower, but they hit three straight in the sixth. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Javier was left in the floor and his compatriot Bryan Abreu took the mound to continue Houston’s gem from the mound.
Abreu retired the three batters he faced and Rafael Montero did the same in the eighth. So does Pressly. In the end, Houston’s pitching had 14 strikeouts and three shutouts. Phillies pitchers had 11 strikeouts.
On June 25, against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, Javier (7.0 IL), countryman Hector Neris (1.0 IL) and Ryan Pressly (1.0 IL) pitched their 18th and final combined no-hitter to date , no-run in the major leagues. Houston is the first team to combine multiple pitchers to go hitless more than once in a single year.
Nola shut out Houston in the first four innings, extending the AL champs’ hitless streak to 16, but the National League Monarchs’ starter went down in the fifth, and the reliever who tried to save him, the almost always effective José Alvarado, did little to change the situation.
Nola allowed back-to-back hits to Shas MacCormick, Jose Altuve (his 100th career postseason hit, sixth all-time) and Jeremy Pena, forcing manager Rob Thomson to call up the lefty Alvarado to face left-handed hitter Yordan Alvarez.
Alvarado hit the first pitch, allowing McCormick to score, and Alex Bregman followed with a double that brought in two more. A sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker and a single by Cuban Yuli Gurriel produced the final two runs of the inning.
Nola’s final line ended up like this: 4.0 IL, 7 H, 3 CL, 0 BB, 4 K. After not giving up a run in 12 1/3 innings in his first two playoff starts, Nola was fined 14 runs in 13 1/ 3 changes in the last three.