Alvarez finishes with (unusual) flourish

The Miami Marlins saved their best day for the final day of the 2013 season, winning in both historic and unusual fashion.

Henderson Alvarez pitched the third no-hitter in the major leagues this season, a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Team Pitched No-Hitter
Won in Walk-off Fashion
Since 1900

But this was hardly a typical no-hitter.

It is the first in the modern era (since 1900) to end on a wild pitch. It was also the first no-hitter to end in walk-off fashion since the Pittsburgh Pirates had a 10-inning no-hitter against the Houston Astros in 1997.

Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined on the no-no, and Mark Smith hit a walk-off three-run homer to win the game.

It was the first no-hitter in a team’s final game of the season since Mike Witt pitched a perfect game for the Angels against the Rangers in 1984.

It was also the Marlins first no-hitter since Anibal Sanchez threw one against the Diamondbacks in 2006.

Alvarez had never taken a no-hit bid beyond three innings in any of his previous 57 starts.

How he won

Alvarez, who’s known best for his hard sinker, recorded 19 outs on fastballs, tied for the second most outs with the pitch in a no-hitter in the last five seasons. The only pitcher with more was Matt Garza in his no-hitter against the Tigers in 2010.

The pitch averaged 94.1 mph, his second highest fastball velocity this season.

Along with his fastballs, Alvarez mixed in 21 percent sliders, his third-highest percentage this season. He got a season-high six outs on the pitch.

Twenty-two of Alvarez outs came on pitches in the strike zone. The heat map below shows the location of each out. Alvarez succeeded against lefties by getting them on pitches on the outside corner, and got righties out with pitches on the inside corner.