On Sunday in Miami, the final day of the 2013 regular season, something magical happened. Henderson Alvarez threw nine no-hit innings for the Marlins against the Tigers. There was just one problem as Alvarez left the mound in the ninth inning: the game wasn't over yet, because the Marlins hadn't scored a run.
In the bottom of the ninth and Luke Putkonen on the mound for Detroit, Giancarlo Stanton singled with one out. Logan Morrison followed with a single of his own, and both runners moved up 90 feet after a wild pitch by Putkonen. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out for the second out of the inning, and Putkonen walked Chris Coghlan to load the bases with two outs for pinch hitter Greg Dobbs. And of course, in total Marlins fashion, they won the game without even a swing of the bat from Dobbs – because Putkonen threw a wild pitch on the first pitch of the at bat, allowing Stanton to score the winning run, handing Miami the win and Alvarez a no-hitter.
The no-hitter is the fifth in Marlins history after those thrown by Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, AJ Burnett, and Anibal Sanchez (who actually started for the Tigers yesterday in Miami). Alvarez finished his day by walking one hitter, hitting one, and striking out four while not allowing any hits. He also managed to only throw first pitch strikes to 13 of the 30 hitters he faced, and only threw 99 pitches on the day.
Don't get me wrong – this was a great pitching performance from Alvarez, and an extremely exciting win for the Marlins. But it's not as if he dominated the mighty Tigers offense. Miguel Cabrera didn't play. Prince Fielder exited after two plate appearances. Victor Martinez had the day off. Torii Hunter rested. Alex Avila only had a pinch hit appearance. Austin Jackson stayed on the bench. Detroit had nothing to play for, with a trip to start the ALDS in Oakland already wrapped up, and Jim Leyland trotted out a lineup made up mostly of bench players.
No matter though, Henderson Alvarez still pitched the game of his life and should be congratulated for that.