Javier, Astros bullpen combine to no-hit Yankees

MLB

Houston Astros pitcher Cristian Javier and two relievers combined for the first no-hitter against the New York Yankees in 19 years, shutting down the best team in baseball for a 3-0 victory at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Javier (5-3), a 25-year-old right-hander without a complete game in 84 professional starts, set career highs with 13 strikeouts on 115 pitches over seven innings before he was pulled by manager Dusty Baker after the seventh inning.

“I feel really happy, really proud right now for this moment that God has given me,” Javier said via interpreter.

Said closer Ryan Pressly, who finished off the gem with a 1-2-3 ninth: “To do it in New York, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

In a matchup of the teams with the top two records in the American League, New York didn’t come close to a hit before a silenced crowd of 45,076. The major league-best Yankees lost consecutive games for the first time since May 28-29 against Tampa Bay, getting their only runners on three walks and an error.

Hector Neris relieved Javier in the eighth inning, but not without some drama. Neris allowed two walks before getting out of the inning on a fly ball to the warning track by Joey Gallo and a hard grounder by Aaron Judge for a fielder’s choice.

“I said, ‘I have to get it for my team, I have to get it for Javy,”’ said Neris, who had never pitched in a no-hitter before.

Pressly, who gave up a tying three-run homer to Aaron Hicks in a 7-6 loss Thursday night, retired three straight batters in the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances. After Giancarlo Stanton hit into a game-ending groundout, the Astros walked onto the field and gathered near the mound for a brief celebration.

Only two no-hitters have been thrown against the Yankees since Baltimore’s Hoyt Wilhelm did it in 1958. Both have come at the hands of the Astros, who had six pitchers combine to do it at Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2003.

Houston scored on solo home runs by rookie J.J. Matijevic in the seventh and Jose Altuve in the eighth. Yuli Gurriel added a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth.

New York was no-hit for just the eighth time ever, and just the sixth time at home. Two have been by the Astros, with both of them being combined efforts.

Houston was the last team to do it, across the street at the old Yankee Stadium in 2003. Roy Oswalt strained his right groin after his second pitch of the second inning, and Pete Munro (2⅔ innings), Kirk Saarloos (1⅓), Brad Lidge (two), Octavio Dotel (one) and Billy Wagner (one) followed in an 8-0 win.

The Astros now have 14 no-hitters in their history, the most in the majors since Houston began play in 1962. Three have been combined efforts, also a record.

Javier threw 71 of 115 pitches for strikes. His previous high was 107 pitches against Seattle on April 27 last year.

He walked Josh Donaldson on a full-count fastball with two outs in the first, then retired 17 in a row until Donaldson reached when third baseman Alex Bregman threw past first for an error on a one-out grounder in the seventh. Stanton took a called third strike, and Gleyber Torres struck out swinging.

Javier, who lowered his ERA to 2.73, was starting because Jake Odorizzi is hurt. Javier began 12 of his first 18 batters with a strike but started his last five with a ball. His 50.9% first-strike percentage entering was 155th among 157 pitchers who faced 150 or more plate appearances this season.

Matijevic, a 26-year-old taken by Houston in the second round of the 2017 amateur draft, debuted April 22. He is 2-for-14, and both hits are solo home runs — he went deep against Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox on June 19.

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole didn’t allow a hit until Jake Meyers grounded a slider into right field with two outs in the fifth. In his previous start, Cole held Tampa Bay hitless until Isaac Paredes‘ singled leading off the eighth on June 20. The 31-year-old right-hander took a perfect game into the seventh against Detroit on June 3 before Jonathan Schoop‘s two-out single.

There have been three no-hitters so far this season, with five New York Mets pitchers combining against Philadelphia on April 29 and Reid Detmers of the Los Angeles Angels accomplishing the feat against the Rays on May 10.

Houston’s last no-hitter was thrown by Justin Verlander on Sept. 1, 2019 at Toronto.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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