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.
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.
If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”
[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.
While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.
Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.
This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.
The club’s full complaint can be found here.