MIAMI (AP) — Even in the early innings, Henderson Alvarez knew he had a no-hitter going. The score, however, left him confused.
When Alvarez struck out Matt Tuiasosopo to end the top of the ninth, he thought he had completed a no-hitter for a 1-0 Miami Marlins victory. Alvarez raised a fist and then both arms in celebration.
Oops. The score was 0-0.
That changed a short time later, when Giancarlo Stanton scored on a bases-loaded, two-out wild pitch. The Marlins had a 1-0 win, and Alvarez had his no-hitter on the final day of the regular season Sunday.
"I knew I was pitching a no-hitter early in the game, that it was a gem," Alvarez said. "I really wanted to finish it."
He celebrated in the on-deck circle, where he was standing when Stanton crossed the plate because he was due to hit next. After being mobbed by teammates, the 23-year-old Venezuelan went into the stands to hug his pregnant wife and kiss her belly.
Of the 282 no-hitters in history, it was the only one to end on a wild pitch, STATS said. And it was the first walk-off complete-game no-hitter since Virgil Trucks of the Tigers threw one on May 15, 1952, against Washington.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "You never know what you're going to see. On the last day of the season, what a treat."
Alvarez needed the run for his no-hitter to be official, because a Major League Baseball ruling in 1991 said only complete games of nine or more innings with no hits count as no-hitters.
Alvarez (5-6) struck out four, walked one and hit a batter. With the Tigers' playoff slot decided as AL Central champions, they played with a patchwork lineup, but they didn't begrudge Alvarez or the Marlins for celebrating.
"It was exciting for them and it was very special for him, so you have to be happy for that, no matter what side you're on," Tigers infielder Hernan Perez said. "Any time a guy gets a no-hitter there should be a big celebration, and it's great for the Marlins to end the season that way."
Alvarez capped a dismal season for the Marlins, who had the worst record in the NL at 62-100. He pitched the third no-hitter this year, joining Homer Bailey of Cincinnati and Tim Lincecum of San Francisco.
Detroit rested four starters and had pulled three others by the seventh inning. Miguel Cabrera, who won his third consecutive batting title, never stepped to the plate.
The Tigers' postseason assignment was determined before the weekend, and they'll start a division series at Oakland on Friday. Prior to the game, Tigers manager Jim Leyland acknowledged he and his players were already thinking ahead.
"I want to play this game, I want to win this game, but I want to get this over with and get home," Leyland said. "Guys are anxious. They want to get to the postseason."
Alvarez made the Tigers' eagerness work to his advantage.