Then, at last, it was official: Alvarez had his no-hitter, the fifth in Marlins' history.
Baseball appointed an eight-man committee on statistical accuracy in 1991 that defined no-hitters. That dropped 50 disputed games from the no-hit list.
Alvarez, acquired by the Marlins in a blockbuster trade with Toronto last November, lowered his final ERA to 3.59. His only previous complete game was May 4, 2012, a six-hit shutout for the Blue Jays against the Angels. He hadn't pitched more than 7 1-3 innings this season, and the no-hitter came in his 58th career start.
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.
"He had a lot of movement, and he fed off the fact they were swinging aggressively," Redmond said.
The Tigers came close to a hit several times. Shortstop Hechavarria caught Ramon Santiago's liner in the third with an acrobatic leap. Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander, who is 0 for 27 lifetime, hit a drive to right field that landed foul by a couple of feet in the sixth inning.
"You need to have a little luck to throw a no-hitter," Redmond said, "and we definitely had that today."
Alvarez hit Prince Fielder in the back with a breaking pitch with two out in the first inning, then retired 12 batters in a row before Jose Iglesias reached on an error by Hechavarria in the fifth.
Alvarez retired another 12 in a row before he walked Andy Dirks on four pitches with two out in the ninth.
Verlander struck out 10 in six scoreless innings in his final tuneup for the playoffs. He finished with an ERA of 3.46.
Doug Fister, part of Detroit's playoff rotation, pitched a scoreless seventh. Rick Porcello, a starter moved to the bullpen for the playoffs, followed with a perfect eighth.
The previous pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the Marlins' 21-year history was Anibal Sanchez — now with the Tigers — who did it in 2006 against Arizona.
The last time the Tigers were no-hit was July 26, 2010, when Tampa Bay's Matt Garza beat them 5-0.
NOTES: Marlins 2B Donovan Solano was held out of the lineup but said he felt fine less than 24 hours after being hit in the helmet by a 95 mph fastball. ... Tigers pitchers had 13 strikeouts Sunday and finished with 1,428 this season, a major league record. ... The crowd of 28,315 pushed Miami's final attendance total to 1,586,322. Playing in a ballpark that opened last year, they had the second-worst average attendance in the majors, ahead of only Tampa Bay.
Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine
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