Houston Astros toss first combined no-hitter in World Series history. The first combined no-hitter in World Series history was pitched by Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly as Houston defeated the Phillies 5-0.
The only other no-hitter in the World Series was Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 Fall Classic, which the New York Yankees won 2-0 over the Brooklyn Dodgers. The only other postseason no-hitter in MLB history was thrown by former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS.
On Wednesday, Javier handled the most of the weight with an outstanding performance, striking out nine hitters to open a World Series game and became the first pitcher to do so since 1969. In the bottom of the seventh, Abreu took over and struck out the side; in the 1-2-3 eighth inning, Montero added a strikeout.
THERE IT IS! THE ASTROS HAVE MADE HISTORY! ✍️ pic.twitter.com/emn3eEIcyz
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 3, 2022
Javier, the preternaturally calm 25-year-old Astros starter, fired six no-hit innings to help Houston quiet the Philadelphia crowd and rebound from a rough Game 3, striking out nine and walking two. After 97 pitches, manager Dusty Baker shook his hand and turned to the bullpen. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each pitched an inning to close it out. Overall, the Astros struck out 14 Phillies and retired 18 in a row between walks in the third and ninth innings.
“I mean, it’s crazy,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said after the game, reflecting on the history his club’s pitchers made. “We grew up watching the World Series. We know the baseball’s been going on for a long, long time. So to be a part of, just be a teammate on a team that did that and what Javy and all the guys did is really special.”
Houston sent closer Pressly to the mound in the bottom of the ninth to seal the historic victory despite having a five-run advantage. He began the inning by striking out Brandon Marsh, then walked Kyle Schwarber with a full count. To complete the no-hitter, J.T. Realmuto grounded out to third baseman Alex Bregman after Rhys Hoskins flied out to right field for the second out.
Cristian Javier has a star turn on World Series stage
Javier will end his first complete season as a major league starter by setting a record for the longest World Series start without allowing a hit outside of Larsen’s perfect game.
He surpasses Atlanta Braves pitcher Ian Anderson, who held the Astros hitless for five innings in Game 3 of the World Series in 2021. Leading begin the ninth, the Braves bullpen ultimately gave up the first hit.
And it wasn’t an isolated incident. Javier allowed the lowest batting average in MLB among starting pitchers in the second half while tossing seven perfect innings to start a combined no-hitter against the Yankees earlier this season.
When facing the New York Mets in April, the Phillies went hitless, becoming victims of a combined no-hitter earlier in the season.
How Cristian Javier’s fastball flummoxed Phillies
He tamed the Phillies — who shelled Lance McCullers Jr. one night earlier in a Game 3 win — mostly with a fastball they may be seeing in nightmares. Out of Javier’s 97 pitches in Game 4, an astounding 70 were fastballs.
There are two things to understand about his devastating four-seamer: He throws it high. And to hitters, it looks like it’s rising as it approaches the plate.
That combination is highly desired in baseball. He does this by applying good spin to the ball, which elevates his four-seam to the top of the game for vertical movement that gives the appearance of “rise.” In order to make the ball’s flight path even harder for batters to read, he emphasises it by adopting a lower three-quarters arm angle. Javier’s average fastball location was higher than all but eight of the 169 pitchers who threw at least 500 four-seamers in 2022, according to Statcast. But compared to 127 of them, his release point was lower.
The Astros’ 14 strikeouts matched for the 11th-most in World Series history and set a team record for the Fall Classic.
The Astros secured the return of the series to Houston with their victory in Game 4, and they now have a chance to capture their second World Series championship as early as Saturday. Thursday is Game 5’s planned date in Philadelphia.