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The 2022 World Series is now a best-of-three and the Houston Astros won Game 4 in historic fashion Wednesday night. Cristian Javier and three relievers combined to throw the third no-hitter in postseason history and only the second in World Series history, joining Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 Fall Classic.

Javier and the Astros shut out the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 to even the series at two games apiece (HOU 5, PHI 0).

This is the second combined no-hitter started by Javier in 2022 -- he and two relievers combined to no-hit the Yankees on June 25. It's also the second time the Phillies have been no-hit this year; they were on the wrong end of a five-pitcher combined no-hitter by the New York Mets on April 29. Those were the only combined no-hitters in baseball during the regular season. 

Aaron Nola, coincidentally enough, was the starting pitcher both times the Phillies were no-hit in 2022. Here are a few takeaways from Game 4 and Houston's no-hit performance.

1. The Astros finally broke through offensively

Houston's offense entered the fifth inning of Game 4 riding a 16-inning scoreless streak dating back to the fifth inning of Game 2. They stranded one runner in the first inning against Nola and two runners in both the second and fourth innings, but finally broke through in the fifth inning and put a crooked number on the board.

Consecutive singles by Chas McCormick, Jose Altuve, and Jeremy Peña loaded the bases with no outs, ending Nola's night. With the game scoreless and the 3-4-5 hitters coming up, Phillies manager Rob Thomson went to ace reliever José Alvarado, who was unable to limit the damage. Alvarado plunked Yordan Alvarez with his first pitch to force in a run, then the Astros proceeded to plate four more runs to break the game open. The 16-inning scoreless streak was officially over.

Alvarez's go-ahead hit-by-pitch (on a 99.2 mph fastball, no less) was the first in World Series history, if you can believe that. Seven times previously had a batter been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the World Series, though all seven came with the player's team already ahead. Alvarez was the first to wear a pitch with the bases loaded and give his team the lead.

The Astros also held 5-0 leads in Games 1 and 2 and, according to ESPN, they are the third team to take a 5-0 lead in three of the first four World Series games. The other two teams, the 1937 Yankees and 1989 Athletics, went on to win the Fall Classic. The Phillies of course game back to win Game 1, so even though the Astros have had three 5-0 leads, the series is tied 2-2.

2. Javier was unhittable again

No starting pitcher held hitters to a lower batting average than Javier during the regular season (.170) and he's been even better this postseason. Javier completed six hitless innings against the Phillies in Game 4 and exited with his pitch count at 97. He had not thrown that many pitches in a game since Aug. 20, and he has been on an incredible run lately:

Javier has made one relief appearance (ALDS Game 1) and two starts (ALCS Game 3 and World Series Game 4) this postseason and hitters are 2 for 39 (.051) against him. The Phillies put nine balls in play against Javier and the nine combined for a .118 expected batting average based on exit velocity and launch angle. There was nothing close to a hit in his six innings.

Javier became the first individual pitcher to complete six no-hit innings in a World Series Game since Jerry Koosman started Game 2 of the 1969 Fall Classic with six no-hit frames. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly each threw an inning to close out the combined no-hitter behind Javier. At one point, they retired 18 straight Phillies, including 11 via strikeouts.

There have only been two no-hitters in postseason history: Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series and Roy Halladay's no-hitter in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. Halladay threw his postseason no-hitter in Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Phillies, with visiting manager Dusty Baker across the diamond. Two of the three postseason no-hitters were thrown in the same ballpark, which isn't even 20 years old. Incredible.

Dating back to the sixth inning of Game 3, Phillies hitters are in a 1 for 37 (.029) skid with three walks and 17 strikeouts. The bats have gone ice cold since teeing off for five home runs against Lance McCullers Jr.

3. The Phillies lost at home

For the first time this postseason. The Phillies had been 6-0 at Citizens Bank Park this postseason going into Game 4, and they'd outscored their opponents 42-15 in the six games. They weren't just winning at home, they were dominating, outscoring their opponents by an average of 4.5 runs per game. In Game 4, the Astros became the first visiting team to win a game at Citizens Bank Park since the Braves on Sept. 23. That was only eight home games ago for the Phillies, but still. It had been a long time since they suffered a loss in their home ballpark.

4. The Astros drastically improved their chances of winning the World Series

The series is now tied 2-2, which means it's in essence a best-of-three series. If it goes the full seven games, the Astros will play the majority of those remaining games at home. Throw in the fact that the Astros are almost certainly the better team overall, and they have something north of a 50 percent chance of winning it all. Call it 55 percent given those factors.

And what if they had lost Game 4 and fallen behind the Phillies by a count of three games to one? Teams in those situations – down 3-1 in a best-of-seven MLB postseason series and having opened the series at home, as the Astros did – have mounted a successful comeback just 17.9 percent of the time. Needless to say, that made Game 4 a huge pivot point, and the Astros wound up on the right side of it.  

5. Up next

Game 5. Thursday night's winner will take a 3-2 series lead and be one win away from a championship. The Phillies will start Noah Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94 ERA) in Game 5 and the Astros will counter with ace Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA). It will be the final game played at Citizens Bank Park in 2022. The World Series will be decided in Minute Maid Park for the third time in the last four years one way or another.