The Houston Astros made history and sent the World Series to a 2-2 tie with a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
By Chris Murray
For the Philadelphia Sunday SUN
After the Philadelphia Phillies hit five home runs in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the 2022 World Series, Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier and his fellow relievers were having none of that in Game 4.
The Astros evened the 2022 World Series with a 5-0 combined no-hit shutout win over the Phillies in front of 45, 613 stunned fans at Citizens Bank Park.
It was the third no-hitter in postseason history and the second in World Series history. The first World Series was also a perfect game pitched by the New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. The other postseason no-hitter was pitched by late Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
The Astros have the distinction of having the first combined no-hitter in the history of the series.
During his six-inning stint, Javier was nothing short of brilliant. He had nine strikeouts with two walks.
“(Javier) pitched well with the fastball,” Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm said. “He was in and out up and down. He mixed in the slider good. Like I said, it was one of those nights. Everything was working for him, and we didn’t get anything going.”
Meanwhile, the Houston relief combination of Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressley had just one walk between them while silencing Phillies bats with brutal efficiency
Through the first four innings, both Nola and Javier kept both teams off the scoreboard.
But there was a notable difference.
It was blatantly obvious that Javier was definitely the sharper of the two. Up to that point, the Astros starter did not allow a hit and had six strikeouts.
On the other hand, you could see Nola was leaking oil by the time he got to the fourth inning. He gave up two hits in that inning and the first two outs were hard-hit line drive balls that went directly to Phillies outfielders.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson liked the way he got out of some early-inning jams and thought he was doing well at that point.
I thought his stuff was actually pretty good, and I thought he battled,” Thomson said. “They did get some runners on base, but he battled through it and made some big pitches. They had first and third in the one inning with one out, and he got two punch outs. So I thought he was okay. It’s just, you know, bases loaded, nobody out in the 5th inning, and Alvarez at the plate. For me, that’s just Alvarado’s spot.”
In the fifth inning, things finally fell apart for Nola and the Phillies. He loaded the bases by giving up three straight singles to Astros centerfielder Chas McCormick, second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Jeremy Pena. He kept battling hitters but couldn’t stop them when he needed to.
“McCormick got on, lead-off guy got on, they scratched a couple of singles,” Nola said. “They don’t go down easy, especially when they get two strikes. They battle up there. … The fifth inning got out of hand for me. I left Alvarado in a bad spot with bases loaded with nobody out.”
After Jose Alvarado relieved Nola, things went from bad to worse. First, Alvarado hit Yordan Alvarez to score McCormick. And then third baseman Alex Bregman broke the game open with a two-run double that scored Altuve and Pena. Yuli Guirriel singled to left to score Bregman.
“He was just a little bit off,” Thomson said. “That’s a tough situation to bring him in, but we were just trying to keep the damage to a minimum, I guess. It just kind of got away from us.”
The win by the Astros guarantees that the World Series will be settled one way or the other at Minute Maid Park in Houston.