Winter 2022 magazine

Cristian Javier throws 6 no-hit innings for Astros in World Series: 'I kept my faith in God'

Fresh off throwing the first six innings of the second no-hitter in World Series history, Houston Astros pitcher Cristian Javier was asked by FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal when he knew Wednesday night would be special.

“I just came out holding onto God, trying to be positive, trying to attack the strike zone,” Javier said via translator during their on-field interview. “It’s funny, my parents told me [last night] I was going to throw a no-hitter, and thanks to God I was able to accomplish that.”

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Rosenthal couldn’t quite believe it, so he asked Javier to confirm. Yes, Javier’s parents really told him he was going to throw a no-hitter. Rosenthal chuckled and asked a logical follow-up: “And what did you say?”

“That we’re going to stay positive, with God helping us, we can do it,” Javier said.

Wednesday night was the first time Javier’s father had ever watched him pitch in the majors. A loss would’ve put the Houston Astros in a 3-1 hole facing an elimination game on the road.

None of it fazed the 25-year-old, who attributed his poise to his faith.

“When [my parents] told me that, obviously I got a lot more motivated,” he said after the game. “I kept my faith in God and obviously I knew I had a big commitment today being down 2-1 in the series. And obviously with my parents being here, I just tried to give my best, give my family the best that I could. And obviously having my dad here as well so he could enjoy the success that I’ve had, so he can come here and enjoy the game as well.”

The win allowed the Astros to recapture home-field advantage and ensured the series will end in Houston.

“We just stayed focused, just came out motivated after yesterday’s loss,” Javier said. “We had positive energy in the clubhouse. We told ourselves that we would come in today to win. Coming into the ballpark today, we studied the other team, had a lot of adrenaline and stayed positive and just had a lot of desire to win.”

Javier faced a total of 20 batters and struck out nine of them. He exited the game after throwing 97 pitches with his team leading 5-0. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly kept the no-hitter going for the final three innings.

Facing a Philadelphia Phillies team that typically hits fastballs well, Javier kept throwing his and made the Phillies adjust to him rather than the other way around.

“I really don’t think I could change my plan of attack,” he said. “I think I just needed to stay positive. I thought that my fastball today was really good and definitely I was able to get a lot of swings and misses.”

The combined no-hitter was the second one Javier was part of this year. He also went seven innings as Houston no-hit the New York Yankees on June 25.

In his first full season as a starter, the 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic went 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings. He has given up one hit across 11.1 innings in his two starts this postseason.

Early in the 2021 season, though, Javier found himself at the Astros’ alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, after posting a 3.48 ERA in 54.1 innings as a rookie in 2020. He embraced the setback as part of God’s plan for him and used it as an opportunity to work on his mechanics.

“In reality, I didn’t expect it,” he told Our Esquina, referring to his brief assignment back to the alternate training site. “But I felt everything was normal. I put everything in God my Father’s hands.

“I said, ‘God, it’s Your honor and will. You put each pitcher in each spot. You’re sending me to Corpus because it’s Your will and honor.’ Then there I worked on my slider to throw it more consistently.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker said he plans for Javier to be involved again in some capacity if the series goes seven games. Game 5 takes place in Philadelphia on Thursday starting at 8:03 p.m. ET.

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