World Series Game 4 Score: Astros no-hitter takeaways, offensive break through against Phillies

The 2022 World Series is now a best-of-three and the Houston Astros won Game 4 in historic fashion on Wednesday night. Cristian Javier and three relievers combined for the third no-hitter in postseason history and only the second in World Series history, joining Don Larsen’s perfect game for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 Fall Classic.

Javier and the Astros shut out the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 to level the streak at two games apiece (HOU 5, PHI 0).

This is the second combined no-hitter Javier has started in 2022 — he and two assists worked together to hit the Yankees without a hit on June 25. It’s also the second time the Phillies have not hit a hit this year; They were on the wrong end of a New York Mets combined five-pitcher no-hitter on April 29. These were baseball’s only combined no-hitters during the regular season.

Coincidentally, Aaron Nola was the starting pitcher both times the Phillies went without a hit in 2022. Here are some takeaways from Game 4 and Houston’s non-hitting performance.

1. The Astros finally broke through offensively

Houston’s offense went into the fifth inning of Game 4 with a 16-inning scoreless streak dating back to the fifth inning of Game 2. They stranded a runner in the first inning against Nola and two runners in the second and fourth innings, but eventually broke through in the fifth inning and put a crooked number on the board.

Back-to-back singles from Chas McCormick, Jose Altuve, and Jeremy Peña filled the bases with no outs, ending Nola’s night. With the game scoreless and the 3-4-5 hitters imminent, Phillies manager Rob Thomson went to ace reliever Jose Alvarado, who failed to limit the damage. Alvarado dropped Yordan Alvarez with his first throw to force a run, then the Astros went on to plate four more runs to open the game. The scoreless 16-inning streak was officially over.

Alvarez’s starting hit-by-pitch (on a 99.2 mph fastball, no less) was the first in World Series history, if you can believe it. Seven times previously, a batter was hit by a loaded bases pitch in the World Series, even though all seven were already ahead with the player’s team. Alvarez was the first to carry a loaded bases pitch and gave his team the lead.

The Astros also led in Games 1 and 2, 5-0 and according to ESPN, they become the third team to lead 5-0 in three of their first four World Series games. The other two teams, the 1937 Yankees and the 1989 Athletics, won the Fall Classic. The Phillies, of course, play back to win Game 1. Though the Astros had three 5-0 leads, the series is tied 2-2.

2. Javier was unbeatable again

No starting pitcher kept batsmen at a lower batting average than Javier (.170) during the regular season, and he’s been even better this postseason. Javier went six hitless innings against the Phillies in Game 4 and was eliminated on a 97 pitch count. He hadn’t thrown that many pitches in a game since August 20, and he’s been on an incredible run lately:

Javier has made one relief appearance (ALDS Game 1) and two starts (ALCS Game 3 and World Series Game 4) this postseason, and batsmen are 2 for 39 (.051) against him. The Phillies put nine balls into play against Javier and the nine combined for an expected batting average of .118 based on exit velocity and launch angle. Nothing came close to a hit in his six innings.

Javier became the first single pitcher to pitch six no-hit innings in a World Series game since Jerry Koosman started Game 2 of the 1969 Fall Classic with six no-hit frames. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each pitched an inning to close the combined no-hitter behind Javier. At one point, they retired 18 straight Phillies, including 11 via strikeouts.

There have only been two no-hitters in postseason history: Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. Halladay threw his postseason no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Phillies , with guest manager Dusty Baker on the Diamonds. Two of the postseason’s three no-hitters were thrown into the same ballpark, which isn’t even 20 years old. Unbelievable.

The Phillies hitters, dating back to the sixth inning of Game 3, are in a 1:37 (.029) skid with three walks and 17 strikeouts. The at-bats have gone stone cold since teeing off to Lance McCullers Jr. for five homers.

3. The Phillies lost at home

For the first time this postseason. The Phillies were 6-0 going into Game 4 at Citizens Bank Park this postseason and had beaten their opponents 42-15 in six games. Not only did they win at home, they dominated and outperformed their opponents averaging 4.5 runs per game. In Game 4, the Astros became the first away team to win a game at Citizens Bank Park since the Braves on Sept. 23. That was only eight home games for the Phillies, but still. It had been a long time since they suffered a loss at their home ground.

4. The Astros have drastically improved their chances of winning the World Series

The series is now tied 2-2, meaning it’s essentially a best-of-three series. If it goes the full seven games, the Astros will play the majority of those remaining games at home. Add to that the Astros are almost certainly the better team overall and have a better than 50 percent chance of winning it all. Given these factors, call it 55 percent.

And what if they lost Game 4 and fell three games to one behind the Phillies? Teams in those situations — 1-3 in a best-of-seven MLB postseason series and having opened the series like the Astros at home — have made successful comebacks just 17.9 percent of the time. Needless to say, Game 4 became a major pivot, and the Astros ended up on the right side of it.

5. Next

Game 5. Thursday night’s winner takes a 3-2 lead and is one win away from a championship. The Phillies start Noah Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94 ERA) in Game 5 and the Astros counter with ace Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA). It will be the last game to be played at Citizens Bank Park in 2022. The World Series will be decided one way or another at Minute Maid Park for the third time in the last four years.


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