Finishing on a high: Henderson Alvarez no-hits the Tigers
While attention was focused on the sprint to the finish for the AL wild card contenders, Miami quietly completed a weekend sweep of the AL Central champion Tigers with a 1-0 walk-off win in the first no-hit game pitched by Henderson Alvarez.
In the first ever season-ending inter-league game, Alvarez required only 99 pitches to retire the Tigers who reached base only 3 times, on a 1st inning hit by pitch, a 5th inning error and a 9th inning walk, all with two outs. No Tiger would reach second base.
Alvarez came to Miami from Toronto in the blockbuster trade last off-season that sent Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays. For the Marlins, this was the franchise’s 5th no-hitter, following Al Leiter in 1996, Kevin Brown in 1997, A.J. Burnett in 2001, and Anibal Sanchez in 2006.
Alvarez struck out only four Tigers to record his no-no, tied for the second fewest Ks among the 43 no-hit games of the past twenty seasons. Only Justin Verlander and Francisco Liriano (both in a 5 day span in 2011) had as few whiffs in a no-hit performance.
For Alvarez, today was the second complete game and second shutout of his young career. Pitching his 58th career game, Alvarez is tied for the 37th fastest searchable no-hitter from the start of a career. Quiz: who are the only two pitchers with two no-hitters in the first 58 games of their careers?
Among 192 searchable no-hit games, Alvarez is the 18th youngest pitcher. Boston’s Clay Buchholz in 2007, fellow Marlin Anibal Sanchez in 2006, and the Cardinals’ Bud Smith in 2001 are the only younger pitchers with a no-hitter since another Alvarez (Wilson in 1991) became the second-youngest searchable pitcher with a no-hit game, only older than Vida Blue in 1970.
Today was only the second searchable no-hit game on the final day of the season. The only previous occasion was in 1984 when the Angels’ Mike Witt tossed a perfect game to beat Texas 1-0. This was also only the 3rd searchable no-hit game to be decided in walk-off fashion. The only previous occasions were by Dick Fowler of the Athletics defeating the Browns 1-0 on Sep 9, 1945, and Virgil Trucks of the Tigers blanking the Senators 1-0 on May 15, 1952.
The winning run for the Marlins today was scored with two outs by Giancarlos Stanton who singled, advanced to second on a single by Logan Morrison, then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a second wild pitch, both delivered by Tiger reliever Luke Putkonen. Had the Marlins not scored, Alvarez would have been forced to extra innings to preserve his no-hit bid, something achieved in the searchable era only twice before (both by the visiting Reds in beating the Cubs 1-0), by Jim Maloney in 1965 and by Fred Toney in 1917.
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