Down 2-1 in the best of seven World Series, the Houston Astros needed their Game 4 starter Cristian Javier to get off to a quality start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.
He provided much more than that.
Javier was throwing a hit in six innings, his only base runners being two steps behind Bryce Harper and Brandon Marsh.
With Javier cruising, however, manager Dusty Baker summons Bryan Abreu from his bullpen to pitch the bottom of the seventh inning despite his young right-hander at nine outs in history.
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New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, which is the only time in history a team hasn’t gotten hit in a World Series game.
To add to that, the late Roy Halladay is the only other pitcher to throw a no-hitter in playoff history, doing so for the Phillies against the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 NLDS.
Still, with the Astros holding a 5-0 lead on an offensive attack in the top of the sixth inning, Baker decided it was time to call Javier out of the game.
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Javier was 97 pitches when he left the game with history on the line, even though his bullpen held him down. Abreu would hit the side in the bottom of the seventh.
Javier has been stellar for the Astros all year, owning a 2.54 ERA in 30 games (25 starts) during the regular season while throwing to a 0.71 ERA in three games (two starts) now. .
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His two starts also came in hostile environments, with Javier pitching against the New York Yankees in the ALCS, where he allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts. and three walks.
In fact, Javier led the Astros to a combined no-hitter against the Yankees during the regular season, racking up 13 strikeouts over seven innings, which led to a celebration at Yankee Stadium by the road team.
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Javier’s strong start also comes a night after the Phillies hit Lance McCullers Jr. hard, throwing five homers for seven runs.