Astros team up to keep out of the Yankees


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NEW YORK. A sold-out crowd filled Yankee Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon hoping to maybe see a no-hitter, which is always a chance when ace Gerrit Cole is on the hill. Instead, they witnessed Astros pitcher Christian Javier’s weekend party, which eclipsed Cole and the Yankees and helped make history in the process.

Javier, who signed a $10,000 contract as an undrafted free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2015, along with relievers Hector Nerys and Ryan Pressley upstaged the $324 million Yankee starter by throwing a combination know-hitter into Houston’s brilliant three. . -0 victory in the Bronx.

“Well-hitter is pretty special anyway, wherever you make it,” Pressley said. “The fact that it was here at the Yankee Stadium, says that there is a really good lineup. These are good hitters. It’s special, but I think if you throw away the know-hitter, it’s going to be special overall.”

Javier, behind a deceptive fastball that averaged 94.6 mph and was very well placed, threw seven innings of no hits before Nerys worked two runs and some close calls in the eighth, followed by Pressley, who botched the save in the loss Thursday in New York. — rebounded with a 1-2-3 ninth. Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton advanced to the Finals by landing on third base, sparking a diamond celebration.

Javier hit a career-high 13 batters while throwing a career-high 115 innings (71 hits). This is the most strikeouts by a Houston player since Cole hit 14 batters on September 24, 2019.

“It’s all about pitching – it’s about control, control and more control,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “Everyone talks about speed all the time, but speed without command and control is no good. There he was ahead of some very good strikers. This is a day he will never forget, and neither will we.

Javier has been tossing between the rotation and the bullpen for the past two years, but the Astros believe his future is as a starter. His performance on the big stage against the Yankees helped cement his status.

“I was just trying to stay calm,” said Javier, whose calm demeanor earned him the nickname “El Reptile” from his teammates.

“He doesn’t show any emotion, no matter how big the stage is – playoffs, World Series,” he said. “The guy is the same. He can give up five [runs], he can throw no hitters – he’s still the same guy. Was I surprised that he did it? No, just because I know how good he is.

Nerys compared Javier to teammate Justin Verlander and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

“He’s a young guy, but he could be in the game for a long time,” Neris said.

The Mighty Yankees, the best-recorded team in baseball after a vaunted offense that leads the Major Leagues in runs scored, home runs and OPS, were held to one straight loss to Houston.

This is the first time the Yankees haven’t hit since June 11, 2003, at the old Yankee Stadium, six Astros pitchers missed them. They are the only two non-hitters thrown against the Yankees since 1958. The Astros are no stranger to celebrating at Yankee Stadium, defeating the Yankees in the 2015 AL Wild Card Game and eliminating them in the ALCS at 17 and 19. .

The Astros circled that stretch of games on their calendar—nine games in a row against the Mets and Yankees—and have played their best baseball of the season so far. They are 4-1 this stretch, with their only defeat expected on Thursday when they squandered a three-round lead in the ninth.

“A lot of people talk about the Yankees and not much about the Astros,” Maldonado said. “I feel like we are still the same team. We like to compete there, especially against good teams. We felt like it was the playoffs coming into the series.”

Josh Donaldson was the only Yankee to reach base against Javier. He played in the first inning in a 3–2 close field in which he held on a check swing, and hit again in the seventh due to third baseman Alex Bregman’s throwing error.

“Today was his day,” Donaldson said. “Obviously it’s shocking, I mean we have a really good squad. behind. He was really good.”

Javier was on 91 innings in six innings when pitching coach Josh Miller told Baker that Javier had about 15 innings left. He ended up hitting 24 in the seventh to eliminate Gleiber Torres at 3-2 to spare a non-hitter.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know how many assists I had at the moment,” said Javier. “I was just trying to stay focused, trying to stay in sync with Maldonado. He energized me throughout the game.”

It’s the 14th no-hitter in Astros history and the first since Verlander rolled his career third on September 1, 2019 in Toronto. Houston’s joint know-hitter at Yankee Stadium 19 years ago came after starter Roy Oswalt left with an injury after one inning, and pitchers Pete Munroe, Kirk Saarlos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner completed it.

Cole, who had a no-hitter in the eighth inning in his last start, kept a hit short of two outs in the fifth and kept the Astros off the board until rookie JJ Matievich hit the roulette wheel. two outs in the seventh. Jose Altuve added a solo homer in the eighth off pitcher Michael King.

“Today we have two world-class strikers,” Cole said. “Obviously, I personally have a lot of respect for the guys on the other side of the field. The tip of Javier’s hat. A special day for him.”

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