Astros level World Series with Phillies

Cristian Javier and Houston's bullpen have combined to produce just the second no-hitter in World Series history, blanking the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 to even the matchup at two games each.

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

Javier and three relievers weren't perfect on Wednesday, but they were close as the Astros silenced a booming lineup and boisterous ballpark.

Plus, they'd done this before: Javier, the starter in a combined no-hitter against the New York Yankees in June, was pulled with a no-hitter in progress after 97 pitches this time.

Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each followed with a hitless inning, ensuring this year's championship will be decided this weekend back at Minute Maid Park.

Game 5 is on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Astros ace Justin Verlander will again chase that elusive first World Series win when he faces Noah Syndergaard.

They can only hope to pitch as well as Javier.

Javier said his parents predicted Tuesday night he was going to throw a no-hitter.

"I just came out holding onto God, trying to be positive, trying to attack the strike zone," he said via translator. "Thanks to God I was able to accomplish that."

By the time the 25-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic exited, the only hit maker on the Philadelphia side who showed up on the scoreboard was rocker Bruce Springsteen, pictured surrounded by Phillies fans.

And a few innings later, as fans started leaving Citizens Bank Park, there actually were boos for post-season star Bryce Harper and the Phillies.

Javier became the first starter to throw at least six no-hit innings in a World Series game since the New York Mets' Jerry Koosman in 1969.

Alex Bregman hit a two-run double, Yuli Gurriel added two hits and an RBI and Jeremy Pena had two hits for the Astros.

The Phillies had three walks and two stolen bases, and they stranded a runner at second base in both the second and third innings.

Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola (2-2) tossed four-plus innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks. He struck out four.

Jose Alvarado relieved Nola in the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs, and he allowed all three inherited runners to score and gave two runs of his own.

Chas McCormick, Jose Altuve and Pena each singled to open the fifth before Alvarado took over. Yordan Alvarez was hit by Alvarado's first pitch to score McCormick for a 1-0 lead.

Bregman followed with a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch and Kyle Tucker hit a sacrifice fly to give the Astros a four-run advantage. Gurriel added an RBI single.

Javier (seven innings), Hector Neris (one inning) and Pressly (one inning) also combined to no-hit the Yankees this year on June 25.

with Reuters