Henderson Alvarez, the 23 year-old pitcher for the Miami Marlins, finished the 2013 regular season by adding his name to the history books Sunday afternoon.
Alvarez pitched nine innings of no-hit baseball, but in the bottom of the ninth inning the score between the Marlins and Detroit Tigers remained in a 0-0 tie.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Alvarez stood in the on-deck circle. The Marlins had the bases loaded and pinch hitter Greg Dobbs at the plate. Tigers pitcher Luke Putkonen uncorked a breaking ball for his first pitch to Dobbs- and the ball broke hard, sneaking underneath catcher Brayan Pena’s glove for a wild pitch. Giancarlo Stanton raced home from third and the game was over. Henderson Alvarez had pitched a no-hitter. The Marlins had themselves a 1-0 walk-off victory in the final game of a disappointing season.
The Marlins finish the season in last place in the NL East, with a record of 62-100. With little to celebrate this season, the Marlins now had a reason- to celebrate their young pitcher’s historic accomplishment.
Alvarez finishes the season with a 5-6 record and an ERA of 3.59. He threw 99 pitches in the game, ending with four strikeouts and one walk.
Only three runners reached base for the Tigers- Prince Fielder on a hit-by-pitch in the first inning, Jose Iglesias on an error by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the fifth, and Andy Dirks who walked in the ninth.
Alvarez entered the top of the ninth inning with the no-hitter intact and had thrown 86 pitches to that point. The first batter he faced, pinch hitter Alex Avila, grounded a ball back to Alvarez for the first out. Next batter, Don Kelly, swung at the first pitch he saw and sent another ground ball to Alvarez, who tossed to first baseman Logan Morrison for the second out. Dirks stepped in, and walked on four pitches. With Dirks on first, in stepped Tigers first baseman Matt Tuiasosopo. A 3-2 fastball, clocked at 95-mph, from Alvarez was met with only air, as Tuiasosopo struck out swinging. Alvarez pumped his fist in the air before walking off the mound.
The Marlins came to bat, looking to break the tie- to give Alvarez the no-no and close out the season with a win.
After Justin Ruggiano grounded out for the first out, Stanton and Morrison sent consecutive base hits into center field. With Adeiny Hechavarria batting, Putkonen threw a wild pitch, allowing Stanton and Morrison to advance, making it runners on second and third with one out. Hechavarria grounded out to first base for the second out. Chris Coghlan, the next batter, worked an 8-pitch walk out of Putkonen. In stepped Greg Dobbs with the bases loaded and two out. A wild pitch later, and the Marlins leapt out of their dugout and swarmed Alvarez.
The Marlins managed 6 hits in the game. Each team committed an error.
The Tigers, who will be heading to the postseason as the AL Central Champions, finish the season with a record of 93-69. They will face the Oakland Athletics in the AL Divisional series. The series begins on Friday.