The Miami Marlins season was anything but memorable, but Henderson Alvarez sure gave the home fans a finish on Sunday afternoon throwing the season's third and final no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.
This was far from a typical no-hitter, too. In fact, it was the wildest no-hitter one could possibly dream up. The Marlins offense was also shutout by Justin Verlander and the Detroit bullpen until the ninth inning, meaning Alvarez's feat was completed on a dramatic walk-off. In the deciding inning, Miami loaded the bases with the two outs, and then Luke Putkonen uncorked his second wild pitch allowing Giancarlo Stanton to race home with the game's only run.
A wild pitch walk-off no-hitter for Henderson Alvarez. Talk about a crazy way to finish a season.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, it's the first no-hitter to end in walk-off fashion since 1997 when Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined for a 10-inning no-hitter against the Houston Astros. Pinch-hitter Mark Smith ended that game with a three-run homer.
It's also the first no-hitter on the final day of the season since Mike Witt's in 1984.
Alvarez probably had the best view in the stadium of the final play. He was waiting in the on-deck circle as the ball trickled away from catcher Brayan Pena. There was no possible way he could bat in the inning, but had the game continued into extra innings he was going to continue pitching. His pitch count was still remarkably low at 99.
Alvarez didn't walk a batter until two outs in the ninth inning, but allowed baserunners on a hit batsman and an Adeiny Hechavarria fielding error earlier. He ended up facing only three batters over the minimum.
The no-hitter is the fifth in Marlins franchise history and the first since Anibal Sanchez, now with the Tigers, threw one on Sept. 6, 2006. Sunday's came against a Tigers lineup that was short-handed. Manager Jim Leyland elected to rest several regulars, including Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Alex Avila. Prince Fielder left after two plate appearances. But that takes nothing away from Alvarez's performance.
It was simply Henderson Alvarez's day to shine, and the 21-year-old earned every bit of his place in the history books.