Henderson Alvarez became the fourth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a no-hitter on the final day of a regular season, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0.
Alvarez was waiting on deck to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning when Giancarlo Stanton scored the game’s only run on a wild pitch by Detroit reliever Luke Putkonen.
“I’ve never seen it where we got a walk-off win and we’re mauling the pitcher instead of the guy who got the hit or scored the run,” Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison said yesterday at Marlins Park in Miami.
Alvarez, a 23-year-old right-hander from Venezuela, struck out four batters and walked one as he threw 99 pitches, including 66 strikes. When he got the final out of the top of the ninth inning in Miami he turned and pumped his fist in celebration, briefly forgetting the game was still scoreless.
“I was so excited,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I thought by the ninth inning that I just needed three outs for the no-hitter. With my emotions and nerves, I kind of lost track that we hadn’t scored a run yet.”
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Stanton raced home with the winning run as Putkonen’s first pitch bounced away from catcher Brayan Pena. It set off a Marlins’ celebration near home plate, where Alvarez said he was hoping for a wild pitch.
“You need to have a little luck to throw a no-hitter,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We definitely had that.”
It was the first MLB season-ending no-hitter since Mike Witt of the Los Angeles Angels threw a perfect game at the Texas Rangers in 1984. The others were pitched by Vida Blue and three Oakland relievers against the Angels in 1975, and by Bumpus Jones of Cincinnati against Pittsburgh in 1892.
The third no-hitter of the 2013 season was the fifth in Marlins’ history and the first since Anibal Sanchez achieved the feat on Sept. 6, 2006.
The Tigers (93-69), already assured of a playoff spot as the American League Central Division champion, rested four starters and pulled three more from the game by the seventh inning. Detroit begins a best-of-five series at the Oakland Athletics on Oct. 4.
The Marlins finish the season with a 62-100 record for last place in the National League East.
Alvarez was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in November and was on the disabled list until early July with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. His only previous complete game was May 4, 2012, and the no-hitter came in his 58th career start.