MIAMI — With the bases loaded, two outs and the score 0-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Henderson Alvarez stood in the Marlins on-deck circle, bat in hand, hoping to complete his no-hitter.
Alvarez briefly thought he had pitched one against the Tigers. But Miami needed a run first.
"I was nervous and anxious," he said. "I started praying, 'Please give us a run.' I was hoping for a wild pitch."
That's exactly what happened. Giancarlo Stanton scored easily when a curveball skipped to the backstop, and Alvarez had his no-hitter, beating Detroit 1-0 Sunday.
Alvarez took off his helmet and celebrated. When the scrum broke up, pitcher Jose Fernandez came away holding Alvarez's uniform top.
"They were pulling on my jersey and choking me, so I took it off," Alvarez explained.
Of the 282 no-hitters in history, it was the first to end on a wild pitch, STATS said. It was the first walkoff complete-game no-hitter since the Tigers' Virgil Trucks threw one 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, 23, got it when Luke Putkonen's first pitch to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs was low and inside, eluding catcher Brayan Pena.
Alvarez accomplished his feat against a patchwork Tigers lineup on the last day of the regular season. When he closed out the top of the ninth, he pumped one fist then both, thinking the game was over.
He remained confused until he got to the dugout and a teammate explained the situation to him.
"With the emotion and nerves, I didn't realize we hadn't scored a run yet," a sheepish Alvarez said. "At the time I thought the game was 1-0. I threw my hands up and thought the game was over."