Here’s something we definitely didn’t see coming.
Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez has no-hit the American League Central-champion Tigers through seven innings Sunday in Miami. It’s not a fully-loaded Detroit lineup for Game 162, but Prince Fielder is in there along with Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante and a couple other regulars. Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Torii Hunter are on the Tigers’ bench.
We’ll have inning-by-inning updates as Alvarez tries to make history on the final day of the 2013 regular season. The 23-year-old from Venezuela has thrown only 76 pitches so far. It’s a scoreless game.
UPDATE, 2:49 p.m. ET: Alvarez cruised through the top of the eighth on two groundouts and a strikeout of Ramon Santiago. His pitch count is only 86 through eight no-hit frames, but the score remains 0-0.
UPDATE, 3:01 p.m. ET: Alvarez snagged two comebackers for the first two outs in the top of the ninth. He then walked Andy Dirks on four straight pitches but rallied back to strike out Matt Tuiasosopo. That’s nine innings of no-hit ball, but it’s not an official no-hitter yet because the Marlins still haven’t scored a run in the 0-0 game. Alvarez is at 99 pitches and would almost certainly come back out for the top of the 10th.
UPDATE, 3:14 p.m. ET: Miami loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning against Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen and Giancarlo Stanton scampered home for the winning run on a two-out walkoff wild pitch. What an odd scene at Marlins Park. It was the fifth no-hitter in Marlins franchise history.
White Sox ace Chris Sale was scratched from Saturday night’s start against the Tigers due to a confrontation he had with White Sox coaches and front office staff over the 1976 retro uniforms the club was to wear. Sale used a knife to cut up his uniform as well as the uniforms of some other players, protesting the club’s decision to wear them. The White Sox suspended Sale five games “for violating team rules, for insubordination, and for destroying team equipment.”
Sale spoke about the incident for the first time, as MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports. The lefty apologized to fans who came to see him pitch and said he regrets “not being there for my guys,” referring to the bullpen, which had to cover for Sale on Saturday. Matt Albers got the spot start and went two innings.
Sale felt the uniform would have impacted his performance, saying, “[The ’76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn’t want anything to alter my mechanics. … There’s a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.”
Sale was firm that he doesn’t regret standing up for he believes in. “Absolutely not,” he said. He continued, “Do I regret saying business should not be first before winning? Absolutely not.”
With his five-game suspension to end after Wednesday’s game, Sale is on track to start Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
At the end of April, Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon was handed an 80-game suspension by Major League Baseball after testing positive for exogenous testosterone and Clostebol, performance-enhancing drugs. Gordon says he took those substances unknowingly.
Gordon will return to the Marlins on Thursday, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. The club was 10-11 prior to Gordon’s suspension. Since then, the club has gone 43-35 and is now tied with the Mets for second place in the NL East, five games behind the Nationals. Impressively, the Marlins have collectively hit .272/.330/.408 in Gordon’s absence, which compares favorably to the league average .252/.320/.410 triple-slash line.
Gordon, who made the NL All-Star team in 2014 and ’15, was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances. Derek Dietrich has handled second base in the meantime and has done an admirable job, batting .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA. Nevertheless, Gordon is likely to return to full-time duty at second base.