Christian Xavier’s parents thought he would deliver something special in Game 4 of the World Series. And the Houston Astros starter, along with three of his fellow pitchers, proved them right.
The Astros produced the first combined no-hitter in World Series history — and the second overall of the Fall Classic — on Wednesday as Xavier and Houston blanked the host Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 to clinch the best-of-seven series. Double the score. 2-and secure your place in baseball culture.
While starting for the Astros, Xavier threw six innings of no-hit ball, striking out nine and walking two on 97 pitches before being relieved.
Then Brian Abreu and Rafael Montero each pitched perfect innings before Ryan Pressley shutout the Phillies in the ninth to keep the hosts hitless at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
After the last out, Xavier ran from the dugout to hug Pressley on the mound as his teammates celebrated. In an on-field interview, he was asked when he knew it was going to be a special night.
“Interesting. My parents told me today that I was going to throw a no-hitter, and by the grace of God, I was able to do it.
Javier, who is from the Dominican Republic, later told reporters that his father had come to the United States just the day before to watch him.
Xavier left with a 5-0 lead, and the Astros scored all of their runs in the fifth. Houston manager Dusty Baker said he was thinking about Xavier after the game and was protecting his health when he decided to pull him after Game 6, citing Xavier’s increased pitch count and the Astros’ bullpen.
“It’s always tough to pull a guy, but you have to weigh the futility and history against trying to win this game and get back to 2-2 in the World Series,” Baker said.
The only previous no-hitter in the 118-year history of the World Series was a pitcher named Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
According to Major League Baseball, the Astros now have the record for throwing the first combined no-hitter not only in the World Series but in postseason history. Outside of the Astros and Larsen feats, the only no-hitter in the postseason was thrown by Roy Halladay for the Phillies in the 2010 National League Series.
Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson noted that the Phillies were thrown a no-hitter by the New York Mets earlier this year, then won the next day.
These children have a short memory. “They’re going to go home tonight, they’re going to bed, and tomorrow they’re going to come back here and prepare and compete like they always do.” Thomson said.
It’s Houston’s second no-hitter of the season. On June 25, Xavier, Hector Neris and Pressley combined for a home run against the Yankees.
Astros catcher Christian Vazquez, who called his team’s pitches Wednesday, ran to Pressley after the game. Houston coach Joshua Miller praised Vazquez for his role.
“He calls every pitch, he sees the movement, he sees the hitter’s reaction,” Miller said, according to MLB.com. “It’s huge, knowing what to call and when to empty the general game plan in certain situations.”
Vazquez said he doesn’t think about completing Wednesday’s no-hitter until “maybe the last game” because of the Phillies’ strong lineup that cruised to victory in Game 3 on Tuesday.
We’re not done yet, but it’s very, very special to us. And when we are old, we will remember this.