McCoy: Astros take Game 4 on first combined no-hitter in World Series history

The Houston Astros could dedicate an old song by Randy VanWarmer to pitcher Cristian Javier: “Just When I Needed You Most.”

With his team down two games to one in the World Series, Javier stepped to the Citizens Bank Park mound and put on a total domination exhibition — six no-hit innings.

And it didn’t stop there. The bullpen pitched three more hitless innings for a no-hitter, only the second no-hitter in the 118-year history of the World Series.

The Astros used the practically perfect pitching and a five-run inning to score a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to even the Series at two wins each.

The other no-hitter was a perfect game in 1956 by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After Javier left, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly completed the no-hitter. Only one runner reached base against the bullpen, a one-out walk by Pressly to Kyle Schwarber in the ninth.

“My parents are here, and they told me last night that I was going to throw a no-hitter,” Javier said through an interpreter on national television.

Of his 97 pitches, Javier threw 70 fastballs and his catcher, Christian Vazquez said, “That was the best fastball I’ve seen in my life.”

Javier, a 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic making $750,000, issued two walks and nothing else.

He struck out nine in his first five innings and became the first pitcher in World Series history to strike out nine and give up no hits in five innings.

He walked Bryce Harper leading off the second and walked Brandon Marsh with one out in the third.

He then retired 11 straight, five in a row on strikeouts at one point. But he was at 97 pitches and manager Dusty Baker turned matters over to his multi-talented bullpen.

The bullpen extended the streak of retired hitters to 18 straight, 11 via strikeouts, until Pressly issued the walk in the ninth.

They finished the deal. Abreu struck out the side in the seventh, Rafael Montero went 1-2-3 in the eighth and Pressly retired J.T. Realmuto on a ground ball to third baseman Alex Bregman to close it.

The Astros scored all five runs in the fifth, sending nine batters to the plate against Phillies starter Aaron Nola and relief pitcher Jose Alvarado.

When the inning began, the Astros hadn’t scored a run in 15 innings. But No. 9 batter Chas McCormick singled. Jose Altuve followed with a single to put runners on second and first.

Rookie Jeremy Pena made a feeble and unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt, then singled to left to fill the bases with no outs.

Alvarado replaced Nola and he hit Yordan Alvarez with his first pitch, forcing in a run. He went to 0-and-2 on Alex Bregman, who then shot a two-run double to the right field corner for a 3-0 Astros lead.

Kyle Tucker hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 and Yuli Gurriel poked an 0-and-2 single to left for the final run of the game.

The Phillies won Game 3, 7-0, by hitting five home runs. They did not come close to a hit in game 4 and struck out 14 times.

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