Forget Don Larsen—Dusty Baker’s seen it all. Just one day after the Houston Astros were pummeled 7-0 on five home runs by the Philadelphia Phillies, the Houston manager called on four pitchers to complete just the second no hitter in World Series history.
The Astros blanked the Phillies, 5-0, in Game 4 of a best-of-seven series knotted at two games each some 66 years after Larsen threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.
Cristian Javier tossed the first six innings and left having thrown 97 pitches, the same amount it took for Larsen to set down all 27 Dodgers he faced on the afternoon of Oct. 8, 1956.
“He was electric,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said, making the decision to pull Javier after six and follow him with Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressley.
“This is baseball in 2022,” said Baker, whose club led by Javier recorded a three-pitcher regular season no hitter over the Yankees this past June.
“It was a situation where Javier was approaching that 100 mark. Before every game we have kind of an unwritten limit on where a guy should be in the ball game. His limit was 100 pitches and if we had sent him back out there the next inning, he would have surpassed that maybe in the first hitter.”
There have been three no hitters in postseason history, and Baker has been the manager for two of them.
He was managing the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 when Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies at this same ballpark in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
“Oh, yeah, I was on the other end in this ballpark,” Baker said. “I mean, that’s what’s strange about life. That’s pretty remarkable. I’ve been on both ends and for two out of three.”
Javier went through the Phillies lineup with ease walking only two batters and striking out nine. Only two balls were hit out of the infield and none of them hard.
The Astros walked three in all and struck out 15. The only hard-hit ball was s liner to right off Montero to end the eighth inning that Kyle Tucker charged to his left and snagged with his glove hand.
J.T. Realmuto grounded out to third baseman Alex Bregman to put the first combined post-season and World Series no-hitter in the books. Bregman had a two-run, bases loaded double as the Astros scored all their runs in the fifth inning.
“A combined no-hitter, that’s hard to do because somebody is going to eventually give up a hit,” Baker said. “But all our guys were poised, ready and strong. Man, it’s a strange series. I mean, they hit five home runs yesterday and then no hits today. I mean, this is a daily game and it’s filled with daily emotions.”
The Phillies indeed hit five homers Tuesday night. Thirty hitters to the plate Wednesday and now, decades later, Larsen finally has company.