World Series no-hitter: Four Astros pitchers merge into empty Phillies in second Fall Classic

The Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 in Game 4 of the World Series on Wednesday night to tie the score at 2-2. And they did it in historic fashion – Houston starter Cristian Javier and three relievers combined for the second no-hitter in World Series history.

Javier, a 25-year-old right-hander, went the first six innings without allowing a hit. Brian Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Press then pitched the final three scoreless frames to complete the bid. The combined effort is the second no-hitter in World Series history and the first since Don Larson’s perfect game for the Yankees in 1956. In addition, this is the first MLB postseason no-hitter since Roy Halladay’s in the game against the Phillies against the Reds. 1 of the 2010 NLDS.

Now for some excerpts from an unforgettable night in South Philly.

Javier was dominant.

This wasn’t a case of a no-hit bid built on good luck — Javier had Philly’s lineup in Game 4. In those six innings, he struck out nine, walked two and struck out 63 of 97 batters. It was called a strike plus 25 whiffs. He also did a good job of stifling contact, as no Phillies hitter managed a batted average north of .100 until the sixth inning.

Javier leaned on his fastball in Game 4, as he threw four-pointers 72 percent of the time. That solid bedrock allowed Javier to balance the Phillies with some well-timed sliders. The slider was far and away Javier’s best swing-and-miss offering of the Game 4 season, but it was all working.

This + Javier’s ALCS gem from the Yankees = history

In Javier’s final start this season, he allowed zero runs in 5 1/3 innings. It’s no surprise that such unrelenting stinginess has never been seen before when it comes to allowing wins in consecutive playoff games.

The Phillies nearly broke it up in the eighth.

With two outs in the eighth, Philly Jean Segura jumped on Montero’s first-pitch fastball and came very close to ending a date with Astros history. Look here.

That was a well-hit line to say the least, but unfortunately for Segura and the Phillies, it was right on Gold Glover Kyle Tucker. As it turns out, that hit quality — definition, launch angle and exit velocity (in Segura’s case, 99 mph) — is always popular:

But, it wasn’t in Game 4 Wednesday night. The second closest the Phillies hit? This was in the third inning when a hard-hit Kyle Schwarber went down to first-base. Schwarber came out looking at the at-bat.

Incidents abound.

If you’re looking for several examples of symmetry that suggest some kind of grand design, you’ve come to the right place. First, in Just know that this isn’t the first time Javier has pitched a no-hitter in 2022, and it’s also not the first time this year that the Phillies have come out on the wrong side of a combined no-hitter.

And who started for the Phillies during a no-hitter during the regular season? That Game 4 starter will be Aaron Nola:

In the year Looking back at Halladay’s no-hitter in 2010, that no-hitter was at Citizens Bank Park. The opposite manager on Halladay’s playing field? That’s current Astros manager Dusty Baker.

It was a big win for the Astros.

This no-no happened in the biggest game of Houston’s season to date. A loss in this best-of-seven series would drop them to 3-1 and historically give them a 17.9 percent chance to win the series. Instead, Javier and company held Houston to a 2-2 draw. That means it’s now essentially a best-of-three series, and the Astros host a Game 6 and potentially a Game 7. That’s a big coincidence, and it changed the 2022 World Series.

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