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Astros combine to no-hit Yankees

Astros combine to no-hit Yankees

NEW YORK — A sellout crowd swarmed Yankee Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon hoping perhaps to see a no-hitter, which is always a chance with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound. They instead witnessed the coming-out party of Astros pitcher Cristian Javier, who outshone Cole and the Yankees and helped make history in the process.

Javier, who signed for $10,000 as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, combined with relievers Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly to upstage the Yankees’ $324 million starter by throwing a combined no-hitter in Houston’s scintillating 3-0 win in the Bronx.

“A no-hitter is pretty special either way, anywhere you do it,” Pressly said. “The fact that it was here in Yankee Stadium, that’s a really good lineup over there. Those are some good hitters. It’s special, but I think if you throw a no-hitter, in general, it’s going to be special.”

Javier, behind a deceptive fastball that averaged 94.6 mph and was located extremely well, threw seven no-hit innings before Neris worked around two walks and some close calls in the eighth, then Pressly — who blew the save in Thursday’s loss in New York — rebounded with a 1-2-3 ninth. Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton made the final out, grounding to third base to spark a celebration on the diamond.

Javier struck out a career-high 13 batters, throwing a career-high 115 pitches (71 strikes) in the process. That’s the most strikeouts by a Houston starter since Cole struck out 14 batters on Sept. 24, 2019.

“The whole thing of pitching is about control, control, control,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Everybody talks about velocity all the time, but velocity without command and control is no good. He was getting ahead of some real good hitters over there. That’s a day he’ll never forget, and us either.”

Javier has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen the last two years, but the Astros believe his future is as a starter. His…

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