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Astros no-hitter

Another magical Astros no-hitter in the Bronx

Cristian Javier, Hector Neris, Ryan Pressly combine for no-no against Yankees

Cristian Javier pitched the game of his life Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Then he waited nervously as relievers Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly capped another historic combined no-hitter by the Astros in the Bronx.

Astros catcher Martin Maldonado guided Javier, Neris and Pressly through the first no-hitter thrown against the Yankees at new Yankee Stadium and only the second no-hitter against the Bronx Bombers since 1958.

For the second time in 19 years and 14 days, the Astros threw a combined no-hitter against the Yankees in the Bronx. That last one was an MLB record six-pitcher no-hitter at old Yankee Stadium. This time around only three pitchers were needed for the masterful performance against the Bronx Bombers.

Javier, a 25-year-old righthander from the Dominican Republic, struck out a career-high 13 over seven brilliant innings. The Santo Domingo native dominated a Yankees offense that entered Saturday with the best record, the most runs scored and the best OPS in Major League Baseball. 

Attacking was key to Astros no-hitter

The Yankees are also the best team hitting against four-seam fastballs.  Javier’s best pitch is the four-seamer, and he rode it while helping the Astros throw the 14th no-hitter in franchise history.

“I remained positive,” Javier told AT&T Sportsnet Southwest’s Julia Morales, the Astros’ sideline reporter. “I remained focused always.”

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Javier issued a two-out walk in the first inning to Josh Donaldson before settling in. He struck out slugger Giancarlo Stanton to end the first, beginning a stretch of 17 Yankees retired in a row. 

Donaldson snapped that streak when he reached on third baseman Alex Bregman’s error in the seventh inning. But Javier then struck out Stanton and Gleyber Torres to maintain the lead rookie J.J. Matijevic had given him with a solo home run to right in the top of the seventh.

“My mentality was to attack the hitters as quickly as possible to get outs,” Javier said after throwing a career-high 115 pitches.

Jose Altuve gave the Astros some insurance with a monstrous homer into the second deck behind left field in the top of the eighth inning. Then Neris, a veteran from the Dominican Republic, ran into trouble almost immediately in the bottom of the eighth.

Neris walked Hicks to start the eighth. One out later, he walked DJ LeMahieu. Neris escaped unscathed by inducing a fly out to right from Joey Gallo and then a fielder’s choice grounder to short from AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge.

“In the hard moment I said, ‘I have to give it to my team; I have to give it to Javi,’” Neris told Morales.

Roy Oswalt proud of Astros trio

Pressly struck out Anthony Rizzo and Donaldson to start the ninth. Then he induced a grounder to third from Stanton to seal the no-hitter and 3-0 victory.

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“Especially to do it in New York,” Pressly said, “it’s the best feeling in the world. It is.”

That’s exactly what Oswalt, the former Astros ace, thought when he learned about the latest combined no-hitter by the Astros at Yankee Stadium. He started the Astros’ six-pitcher no-hitter on June 11, 2003.

Oswalt exited with a groin injury that night at old Yankee Stadium. Then Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner finished off the first six-pitcher no-hitter in MLB history.

Oswalt was working outside in his yard in Jackson, Miss., when he was informed about the no-hitter via text. 

“Awesome,” he texted back. “Guess that’s half as good as a 6 pitcher no hitter.”

Oswalt finished that text with a smiley face emoji. The former All-Star was proud of Javier, Neris and Pressly.

“That’s pretty special, especially against the same team that hadn’t been no-hit since the 1950s,” Oswalt said. “To do it at Yankee Stadium, that’s pretty unbelievable.”

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