Henderson Alvarez’ No Hitter
It shouldn’t take a walkoff to nail down a no-hitter, but there we were.
You’d have to dig deep to find a reason to watch the last game of the 2013 season. The Marlins were 61-100 going in to their season finale versus the Detroit Tigers. The second overall pick in the following season’s draft was already assured, so why watch?
Henderson Alvarez provided a master class in why, if you’re a fan, you should tune in to every game. Paired against Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Alvarez matched the sure-fire future first-ballot Hall of Famer pitch for pitch – and then some. Verlander struck out 10 Marlins over six scoreless three-hit innings, and only walked one batter.
Alvarez shot himself in the foot early, erasing any chance of a perfect game by hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch in the first inning. He then retired 12-in-a-row before Jose Iglesias reached first on an Adeiny Hechavarria error. He then retired another 12-in-a-row before issuing a two-out walk in the ninth inning, to Andy Dirks. None of the three baserunners reached second base.
But Verlander – along with the Tigers bullpen – were equal to the task of keeping the Marlins scoreless. Doug Fister pitched a scoreless seventh, followed by a perfect eighth courtesy of Rick Porcello. Luke Putkonen was called on to send the game into extra innings.
After retiring Justin Ruggiano on a 6-3 groundout, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison strung together back-to-back singles. The two then moved to second and third, respectively, on a Putkonen wild pitch. Neither moved on a Hechavarria 6-3 groundout a moment later, followed by a Chris Coghlan walk to juice the bags.
Greg Dobbs, hitting just .228 for the season, stepped in with a chance to be the hero on an unlikely day for everyone, but his heroics were never called on. Putkonen’s first offering bounced past Tigers’ catcher Brayan Pena well inside of the plate, and Stanton scampered home with the game-winner. Alvarez’ final line – nine innings, no hits, no runs, one walk, four strikeouts, 99 pitches, 69 strikes.
It’s not often that a pitcher goes nine no-hit innings and is somehow not in a position to throw the final pitch of the day, but there we were. Although Alvarez went on to represent the Marlins in the 2014 all-star game, the events of September 29th, 2013 was likely the highlight of his major league playing career. And wasn’t it nice to head into the offseason on that high note?