It took three pitchers, 150 pitches and 15 strikeouts, but the Houston Astros combined for a no-hitter against the Yankees on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, beating the best team in baseball, 3-0.
Cristian Javier got things started for Houston, dominating the Yankees for seven innings. He struck out 13 batters and his only blemishes were a first-inning walk and a batter reaching first base on an error in the seventh. But with Javier at 115 pitches, Astros Manager Dusty Baker pulled his starter in favor of the right-hander Héctor Neris.
Neris and Ryan Pressly finished the job, tossing two more hitless innings while allowing two base runners on walks. The scene was reminiscent of the last no-hitter to be thrown against the Yankees, in which six Astros pitchers worked together to accomplish the feat on June 11, 2003. That game was also at Yankee Stadium.
“To do it in New York, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Pressly told reporters shortly after the game.
The two combined no-hitters by the Astros — separated by slightly more than 19 years — are the only no-hitters against the Yankees since Hoyt Wilhelm threw one against them as a member of the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 20, 1958. Overall, the Yankees have been no-hit only seven times in 120 seasons despite having played more than 18,500 games.
Javier, 25, is off to a strong start in his third season. With Saturday’s win he improved to 5-3 and lowered his earned run average to 2.73. Despite not being able to finish the no-hitter on Saturday, he set career highs in pitches and strikeouts, while tying his career high in innings pitched.
The effort clearly wore on him, though, as he was exhausted by the time the seventh inning was done.
“I feel really happy, really proud right now for this moment that God has given me,” Javier told reporters through an interpreter.
Neris, 33, was the first arm out of the bullpen and he allowed a pair of walks. But he finished his inning strong by getting Aaron Judge, a leading candidate for this year’s A.L. Most Valuable Player Award, to line out to short.
Pressly, 33, who had allowed a tying three-run homer to Aaron Hicks in a 7-6 loss on Thursday, was electric in the ninth. He struck out the first two batters he faced — Anthony Rizzo and Josh Donaldson — and got Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to third to end the game.
Facing Gerrit Cole, who was nearly as dominant as Javier, Houston did not score until the seventh inning, when J.J. Matijevic, a rookie first baseman, hit his second big league home run. Jose Altuve homered in the eighth against Michael King, and Yuli Gurriel, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Matijevic, added a run-scoring single off Lucas Luetge in the ninth.
As a result, Cole ended up taking the loss despite allowing only four hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out eight.