Hand leads way with five perfect innings in opener of two-game 'Legend Series'
PANAMA CITY, Panama -- The grandstands of Rod Carew Stadium were packed with life on Saturday, a colorful and festive crowd savoring this once-in-a-lifetime treat of having big league baseball relocate for a weekend to this Central American nation.
They came to honor the career of Mariano Rivera, who said he had long dreamed of having his Yankees travel here, and commented that this experience had exceeded even those expectations. But they stood, chanted and cheered for the game as well, witnessing four pitchers combine to no-hit New York in a 5-0 Spring Training victory for Miami.
"You never want to be no-hit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't care what game it is, what level. You never want to see that."
Miami starter Brad Hand got it all underway with five innings of perfect ball, striking out six. Steve Cishek handled the sixth inning, A.J. Ramos got the next six outs and Arquimedes Caminero polished off the final three in the ninth inning.
"It is a great celebration, but at the same time, we are preparing for the start of the season," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We try to win these games. We still have guys fighting for spots and jobs in the starting lineup and the bullpen."
The Yankees' last serious threat for a hit came in the eighth, as Dean Anna led off the frame with a deep drive to right-center field that was tracked down by Matt Angle a few steps shy of the wall. Caminero struck out Adonis Garcia swinging for the last out, with Garcia losing his grip on the bat and flinging it toward the mound.
"It's a first no-hitter I've ever seen or been a part of in Spring Training," Redmond said. "Last year, we had Henderson Alvarez throw a no-hitter on the last day of the season and that was pretty cool. Tonight was just a testament to how the guys played. We made good plays on defense, too. All in all, it was a great day and one I'll remember for a long time."
The Yankees had three baserunners in the game. Brett Gardner and Zelous Wheeler worked walks, and Anna was hit by a pitch.
Miami touched Yankees starter Adam Warren for two hits in 4 1/3 innings, scratching out a run in the fourth to interrupt an otherwise strong start.
Jake Marisnick singled, stole second, advanced on a groundout and then came home on a wild pitch for the only run off Warren, who walked none and struck out six. Christian Yelich added an RBI single in the sixth inning off reliever Chase Whitley.
"It felt more like a real game," Warren said. "The atmosphere was great. I enjoyed pitching in that atmosphere; a really loud crowd, and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it."
The pregame ceremonies were memorable, as Rivera walked through the outfield wall to the strains of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," just as he did so many times over the course of a career that saw Rivera compile 652 regular-season saves, plus 42 more in the postseason -- both all-time records.
Rivera spoke to the crowd briefly in Spanish, thanking them for their support and stating how loved he felt, and then threw his ceremonial first pitch -- not quite a strike, though that dampened nothing -- to David Robertson, his successor as the Yankees' closer.
"It was a lot of fun. This is definitely a different experience," Robertson said. "You can tell the fans are excited to be here, excited to see Mo, and to be able to catch his first pitch was pretty awesome. Not too many people can say they did that."
If Rivera received the loudest cheers of the night, then the second-most were reserved for Yankees captain Derek Jeter, whom Rivera referred to as "my brother for so many years, and he will be until the day I die."
Jeter finished the game 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and Girardi said that he plans to have Jeter serve as the designated hitter for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET series finale before both clubs head to Tocumen International Airport, returning to their regular Spring Training routines.
Girardi said that he loved the pregame ceremony for Rivera, and though he cracked that "it wasn't the historic night that I envisioned," Girardi said that the atmosphere of the ballpark was special.
"I think it's great for the game of baseball," Girardi said. "The Panamanian fans were tremendous tonight, the support that they showed for both teams, the excitement. Seeing little kids hanging over the walls; I think it's wonderful."
Up next: The Marlins have another split-squad day Sunday, but neither game will be at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Kevin Slowey will start at Fort Myers, Fla., against the Twins, who are going with Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins' all-time wins leader. Slowey is a former Twin. The game will be on MLB.TV, and it will be the Marlins' second game where replay challenges are available. Also on Sunday, the Marlins wrap up their two-game exhibition against the Yankees in Panama. Nathan Eovaldi will start against CC Sabathia.