Henderson Alvarez pitches two-hitter to shut down M’s
MIAMI (AP) — As Henderson Alvarez discussed his two-hit victory in the Miami Marlins clubhouse, teammate Jose Fernandez served as a translator.
The performance actually spoke for itself.
Alvarez won for the first time since his no-hitter to end the 2013 season, helping Miami beat the Seattle Mariners 7-0 Saturday. The Venezuelan faced only 28 batters, one over the minimum.
”It was amazing,” praised Fernandez, who watched from the dugout with other Marlins pitchers. ”From the first inning he was locating his pitches well. We were all sitting together, so it was exciting watching him throw like that.”
Alvarez (1-2) retired the first 15 batters en route to the third complete game and third shutout of his career. He struck out four, walked none and threw 90 pitches.
”Talk about efficiency,” manager Mike Redmond said. ”In the first inning you could sense the intensity, and the way he was executing his pitches, you could tell he was on a mission.”
Alvarez said he was mindful in the early innings of his shot at a second no-hitter.
”I thought about it, but I was concentrating on getting outs,” Alvarez said in Spanish.
The Mariners lost their fifth game in a row and were shut out for the fourth time.
”This is a tough stretch for us,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. ”Everybody in baseball goes through tough stretches, and we just happen to have ours now. We’ve got to grind it out and keep our heads up and keep going.”
Alvarez generated more offense than Seattle, driving in a run with a two-out broken-bat single in the sixth off rookie Roenis Elias to make it 3-0. The hit left Alvarez shaking his right hand in pain.
”He jammed me hard,” he said. ”I thought I broke all five fingers when I got to first base.”
Elias (1-2) allowed six runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Marcell Ozuna had a three-run homer, his third, and an RBI single to hike his average to .343. Adeiny Hechavarria contributed three hits, scored twice and made two fine plays at shortstop. Christian Yelich doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Mariners had eight left-handers in the lineup against Alvarez, but that didn’t faze the right-hander, who retired the side in order for five innings before Dustin Ackley singled to shallow left-center on the first pitch of the sixth.
The pitch was a sinker called by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
”That wasn’t the pitch I wanted to throw,” Alvarez said. ”It was a little high. I wanted to throw a change-up down.”
After the crowd of 24,003 gave Alvarez a warm ovation, Ackley was erased on a double play. Mike Zunino doubled with one out in the ninth for the Mariners’ other hit before Alvarez closed out the Marlins’ first complete game this year.
He lowered his ERA from 4.30 to 2.66.
”He was keeping the ball down and hitting his spots,” Saltalamacchia said. ”If he missed, he missed away. In his last few starts he left balls up in the zone a little bit.”
Alvarez, who turned 24 Friday, reached 96 mph on the scoreboard radar gun and had good command of his sinker. He went to three balls on only one batter, and induced 17 groundball outs.
”When you run into a guy that’s got three or four pitches working and he’s a power pitcher, it’s going to be tough,” McClendon said. ”You’re probably going to have a long night. That’s the way it was.”
The dominating performance was reminiscent of Alvarez’s no-hitter on the final day of last season, when Miami scored in the bottom of the ninth to beat Detroit 1-0. That was the first time a no-hitter was secured with a walk-off wild pitch to bring home the winning run, and Alvarez was in the on-deck circle at the time.
NOTES: Marlins 2B Rafael Furcal (hamstring) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Monday with Double-A Jacksonville. … Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (shoulder) is scheduled to make his first rehab start Wednesday for Class A Jupiter. … The Mariners’ Corey Hart was given the night off. … The Mariners’ walk-off loss Friday was their 52nd since the start of the 2010, by far the most in the majors during that span. … The Marlins became the first team since the Red Sox in 1949-52 to hit a walk-off grand slam in three consecutive seasons. … Mariners LHP Joe Beimel turned 37 Saturday. … Seattle RHP Brandon Maurer and Marlins RHP Kevin Slowey are scheduled to make their first starts of the season Sunday.