The Houston Astros used four pitchers to make World Series history on Wednesday, but one constant was a former Boston Red Sox catcher behind the plate.
Houston evened the World Series with a combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 at Citizens Bank Park. Cristian Javier got things started with six no-hit innings before Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly finished the job with one inning apiece.
With four rotating pitchers chipping in to pull off the feat, it was Christian Vazquez who steered the ship.
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The Red Sox dealt the veteran catcher to the Astros ahead of the 2022 MLB trade deadline. It wasn’t until Game 4 of the series that the Astros leaned on Vazquez, and he immediately joined Yogi Berra in the history books.
“There's only two catchers in history to call a no-hitter [in the World Series],” he told reporters following the game. “We've not finished the job yet, but this is very, very special for us. And when we get old, we're going to remember this.”
Berra was behind the dish for Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. From there, it took 54 years before Phillies ace Roy Halladay tossed the next MLB postseason no-no in the 2010 NLDS. Houston’s combined no-hitter was the third, and the team’s Game 4 starter doesn’t think it would have happened without Vazquez’s guidance.
Boston Red Sox
“He stayed on top of me, continued to motivate me throughout the game, and called a great game, and gave me really good positive energy,” Javier said of Vazquez. “I think that's one of the reasons why we got the results we did today.”
There have been arguments about the merits of a combined no-hitter compared to ones from Larsen and Halladay. Vazquez doesn’t see it as much of a debate, though.
“It’s a no-hitter,” he said with a smile, per Sports Illustrated.
Like the Astros franchise, Vazquez is chasing his second World Series title. He caught the final strike of the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he will now have a chance to do the same for the Astros in Houston.
Game 5 between the Astros and Phillies will take place Thursday night in Philadelphia before the series shifts back to Houston on Saturday. Should the series reach a 3-3 tie, Game 7 will be played Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.