NEW YORK — Astros pitchers had a deal Saturday afternoon as they threw a no-hitter combined in a 3-0 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. No wonder Astros catcher Martín Maldonado was behind the plate when history was written. He showed once again why he is one of the best defensive receivers in baseball.
Maldonado was the one guiding right-hander Cristian Javier, who pitched seven innings and struck out a career-high 13 batters. Relievers Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly pitched the last two innings. It was the 18th time in MLB history that a team had thrown a combined no-hitter.
Javier’s four-seam fastball and slider were untouchable. He said he and Maldonado were on the same page throughout the game.
“All the pitches he was calling, I was already thinking in my head. I wanted to throw those throws,” Javier said through interpreter Jenloy Herrera. “Thank God everything went well. Having Maldonado at home plate is important to us.
Maldonado was aware that Javier was talented enough to be part of a combined no-hitter. Maldonado first saw the skills when Javier made his Major League debut in 2020.
“He’s one of the most exciting pitchers to catch. He just keeps getting better,” Maldonado said. “We call him ‘El Reptile,’ because he shows no emotion. stage – the playoffs, the World Series. I asked him, ‘Do you ever get scared?’ It doesn’t matter if he gives up five [runs] or throw a no-hitter. He’s still the same guy.
Maldonado appears to be in the midst of special events. On June 14, he was behind the plate when Luis Garcia and Phil Maton each pitched a clean inning against the Rangers.
“I’m very proud behind home plate,” Maldonado said. “Every time you go down in history, it’s amazing. … These are memories that will last [a] long [time].”
Maldonado is so important behind the plate for Houston no matter what he does in the batting box. Maldonado is hitting .150 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.
Astros manager Dusty Baker says Maldonado is doing his homework and following both Houston’s game plan and his own every night.
“He judges things by the score, the pitcher’s command that day and the inning it’s about. He prides himself on calling, throwing and catching,” Baker said. “He also takes pride in hitting because it bothers him not to hit. He works hard at it. The no-hitter couldn’t come up with a better guy than Maldy.
The losing pitcher was Gerrit Cole, who was a Maldonado teammate when the two were with the Astros in 2019. Cole wasn’t surprised Javier pitched a great game with Maldonado behind the plate.
“We outdid ourselves, so nod to Javier,” Cole said. “Special day for him. He was excellent in all areas mixing up his shots. Maldonado was sharp behind the plate for him, and that’s how the chips came down.
Yes, the Yankees have the best record in baseball, but Maldonado said not to forget the Astros, who won their 45th game of the season.
“A lot of people talk about the Yankees and they don’t talk a lot about the Astros,” he said. “I feel like we’re still the same team. We like to compete there, especially with a good team. We felt it was [the playoffs] enter the series.