NEW YORK – Houston's Cristian Javier and Héctor Neris have held the New York Yankees hitless through eight innings Saturday in a game the Astros lead 2-0.
Javier pitched seven innings with a career-high 13 strikeouts and one walk, throwing 71 of 115 pitches for strikes. His previous high was 107 pitches against Seattle on April 27 last year.
He was replaced by Neris to start the eighth. Aaron Hicks and pinch-hitter DJ LeMahieu drew walks, but Joey Gallo flew out to the warning track for the second out and Aaron Judge's hard grounder was fielded by shortstop Aledmys Díaz for an inning-ending fielder's choice.
Javier walked Josh Donaldson on a full-count fastball with two outs in the first, then retired his next 17 batters before Donaldson reached when third baseman Alex Bregman threw past first for an error on his grounder with one out in the seventh. Giancarlo Stanton took a called third strike and Gleyber Torres struck out swinging.
Rookie J.J. Matijevic gave Javier a lead in the seventh when he hit his second big league homer, driving a Gerrit Cole fastball into the right-field second deck. Jose Altuve added a solo homer in the eighth against Michael King.
Javier started 12 of 23 batters for strikes but appeared to be tiring and began his last five with balls. His 50.9% first-strike percentage entering was 155th among 157 pitchers who faced 150 or more plate appearances this season.
A 25-year-old right-hander, Javier entered without any complete games in 83 professional starts. His big league high for innings was seven, twice last year.
Javier began the day 4-3 with a 3.07 ERA this season.
Matijevic, a 26-year-old taken by Houston in the second round of the 2017 amateur draft, debuted April 22. He is 2 for 14 and both hits are solo home runs — he went deep against Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox on June 19.
Cole didn't allow a hit until Jake Meyers grounded a slider into right field with two outs in the fifth. In his previous start, Cole held Tampa Bay hitless until Isaac Paredes' single leading off the eighth on June 20. The 31-year-old right-hander took a perfect game into the seventh against Detroit on June 3 before Jonathan Schoop’s two-out single.
There have been two no-hitters so far this season, with five New York Mets pitchers combining against Philadelphia on April 29 and Reid Detmers of the Los Angeles Angels accomplishing the feat against the Rays on May 10.
Houston's last no-hitter was thrown by Justin Verlander on Sept. 1, 2019 at Toronto.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports