The Houston Astros have made history by completing baseball’s first ever combined no-hitter in the sport’s showcase event, the World Series.
The side’s pitchers prevented the Philadelphia Phillies from hitting a single ball in the nine-innings clash.
Houston ran out 5-0 winners to draw level in the seven-game series.
Star pitcher Cristian Javier also made history, becoming just the second player to pitch for six or more innings without conceding a hit.
A combined no-hitter occurs when more than one pitcher prevents the opposition from making a hit. The sport has seen 18 in Major League Baseball history, but it had never happened in the league’s franchise event.
Javier was joined in the achievement by relief pitchers Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly.
But it was the 25-year-old Dominican’s fastball, which can reach speeds of up to 93mph (149km/h), which flummoxed the host side and stunned fans at the Citizens Bank Park.
The Astros catcher Christian Vazquez hailed Javier’s performance and said the star had “best fastball I’ve ever seen”.
“You can call it whoever is in the batter’s box and it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be effective and it’s going to do the job.”
Javier joins former New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen – who threw a perfect game in game 5 of the 1956 World Series at Yankee Stadium – as the only pitchers in the World Series 118-year history to finish an outing conceding no hits.
He also becomes the first player to start in multiple combined hitters, re-enacting the key role he played against the New York Yankees in June.
Javier, who has only surrendered one run since 8 September, is one of the sport’s most underappreciated stars. He was signed as an undrafted free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2015.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Houston manager Dusty Baker of Javier after the game. “The sky is the limit for that young man.”
The Phillies, who had been unbeaten at home this post-season, are fighting for their first World Series title since 2008.
But the Astros – who are appearing for the fourth time in six seasons – are seeking redemption after their 2017 win was tainted by revelations of illegal sign-stealing. They were accused of using a video camera in the centre field to film opposition team’s hand signals regarding the next pitch.
The league imposed severe punishments on the side, with general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager AJ Hinch receiving season long suspensions, and the club was fined $5m.