ATLANTA – Cristian Javier turned around after Dansby Swanson hit a 95 mph fastball on a 0-2 count. He thus witnessed the way the ball flew through right field, passed over Michael Brantley and went just to the other side of the brick wall.
It was a 359-foot home run.
Pitching coach Brent Strom came to the mound as pinch hitter Jorge Soler reached the batter’s box. Javier got down on the count 2-1 and the Cuban found him a slider that stayed at the waist.
The ball was thrown into left field. Javier took a turn again, now to the other side, and saw the way in which the Cuban Yordan Álvarez crashed into the fence, hitting his armpit, while the ball narrowly went away.
The Cuban Soler thus got the home run that meant the advantage.
Javier had been perfect this postseason, getting 27 outs without allowing a run. Those hits that sent the ball so close out of the park were the difference for the Astros, who fell 3-2 on Saturday and trailed 3-1 in the World Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Dominican Javier, 24-year-old right, is in his second season in the Major Leagues. He made nine starts and 27 relays in 2021, with a 4-1 record and a 3.55 ERA.
He had excelled in the postseason, but now he shares an undesirable statistic. He is the third pitcher to allow a tie and handicap home run consecutively in a World Series game.
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, of the Yankees, had consecutive homers against Bill Sherdel, of St. Louis, in the fourth game of the 1928 edition. Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager, of the Dodgers, did the same against Ron Guidry, of the Yankees, in the fifth game of the 1981 Fall Classic.
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Javier was on the other side of history