The Miami Marlins got a surprising end to their miserable 2013 season, as Henderson Alvarez threw the fifth no-hitter in Marlins history. The game was not bereft of excitement on the other end either, as the Fish failed to score for most of the game and needed some ninth-inning fortune to escape with a 1-0 win and preserve the no-hitter in team history forever.
What happened in the outing? Let's watch some of the highlights of today's spectacular finish.
Let's start with the help of the team's defense. In the third inning, Alvarez ran into the first major threat of a hit, as Ramon Santiago lined a pitch out to shortstop. Adeiny Hechavarria saved the no-hitter without even knowing it would get to that point.
Alvarez got his back in the eighth inning, as the fans began to get riled up. Alvarez was delivering some nice heat, and he used some of it to freeze Santiago with a 94-mph fastball that struck him out and ended the frame.
The ninth inning was not as smooth as that strikeout, but it was just as exciting to watch. All game, Alvarez was working on the defensive end as well, as he was fielding grounders and helping out Logan Morrison at first base. To start the ninth, Alvarez had a few plays to make to keep the no-hitter alive. First, he went to his knees to snag a sharply-hit grounder by Alex Avila.
His defense would be tested again just a pitch later, as Don Kelly hit a ball even harder that had Alvarez go airborne to snatch.
After Alvarez issued his first walk of the game, he faced Matt Tuiasosopo and, on a 3-2 pitch, found the right diving fastball to strike him out and no-hit the Tigers through nine.
But that was not enough to make the no-hitter a reality. The Marlins had to score a run off of the Tigers first, and that had proven difficult against Justin Verlander (nine strikeouts in five innings) and the rest of the Detroit staff. But Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison singled in the bottom of the ninth, and a Chris Coghlan hard-fought walk loaded the bases. Greg Dobbs entered the game to pinch-hit, and Alvarez stood in the on-deck circle despite the fact that the inning would never get to him at the plate.
Then, on the first pitch to Dobbs with the bases juiced and two outs, we had ourselves a no-hitter.
And now, let's put it all together in one wonderful highlight. Here is every out and result from Henderson Alvarez's no-hitter on the final day of the 2013 regular season.
It has been rare to say this all year, but this has been a great day to be a Miami Marlins fan. Thank you and congratulations to you, Henderson Alvarez, for making 2013 a little more fun and a little more special for Marlins fans who stuck it out!