(Reuters) - Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins pitched a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers in the regular season finale on Sunday when the Marlins scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth for a 1-0 victory.
Alvarez, who struck out four and walked just one, had taken the no-hitter into the ninth of the scoreless game but needed to complete the game to receive credit for the no-hitter.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with Chris Coghlan at the plate, reliever Luke Putkonen threw a wild pitch past catcher Brayan Pena that allowed Giancarlo Stanton to score from third for the game-ending run.
Alvarez got a up-close look at the winning run as he was waiting on the on-deck circle, prepared to return to the mound if the game remained scoreless and went to extra innings. Instead he jumped up and joined the celebration at home plate.
“I was ready to go back out there for the 10th inning, but I’ll take that wild pitch,” Alvarez told Fox Sports through an interpreter.
The walk-off finish gave the 23-year-old Venezuelan the third no-hitter of the season and sixth ever thrown by a Marlins pitcher. The last no-hitter for the franchise was tossed by Anibal Sanchez in 2006.
In blanking the American League Central champions Detroit, Alvarez improved to 5-6 for a Miami team that finished with the National League’s worst record at 62-100.
Alvarez got an assist from shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who kept the no-hitter intact with a spectacular leaping catch of a Ramon Santiago line drive in the third inning.
He threw an economical 99 pitches including an impressive 66 for strikes, and issued his only walk with two outs in the ninth inning to Andy Dirks.
There was no tension over a possible perfect game since he had hit Prince Fielder with a pitch in the first inning and an error by Hechavarria allowed Jose Iglesias to reach in the fifth.
“He was getting ahead in the count, he had great fastball location,” said catcher Koyie Hill about Alvarez’s gem. “If he gets ahead (in the count), he is dangerous.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Gene Cherry