WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — With one out left before the Washington Nationals could close the books on the team's first no-hitter, pitcher Jordan Zimmerman reached back and fired toward home plate.
And the Miami Marlins' Christian Yelich got a hold of one, rocketing a deep fly ball into left center field.
Zimmermann leaned his head back and winced, thinking his no-hitter was lost.
But defensive replacement Steven Souza Jr., who made his big league debut this year and took over for Ryan Zimmerman to begin the ninth, ran hard into the gap, extended his glove...
...and made a sensational catch.
Souza used his bare hand to squeeze the ball in his mitt as he fell for the final out in a 1-0 victory over the Marlins in a regular-season finale Sunday.
Souza hopped up and punched the air. Jordan Zimmermann, watching from the mound, raised both arms overhead and pumped his right fist.
Washington Nationals third baseman Kevin Frandsen (19) comes to celebrate with starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) after a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Washington. Zimmermann pitched a no-hitter as the Nationals won 1-0. (Image source: AP/Alex Brandon)
"I thought that was a double for sure, and here he comes out of nowhere and makes the play," Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann (14-5) allowed only two baserunners, finishing with 10 strikeouts and one walk. He retired the first 14 batters before walking Justin Bourn on a full-count pitch with two outs in the fifth inning.
With two outs in the seventh, Garrett Jones reached first base on a strikeout when he swung and missed on a wild pitch. Zimmermann leaned over and put his hands on his knees. But moments later, catcher Wilson Ramos picked off Jones at first.
It also was the fifth no-hitter in the majors this year, and the fifth time there has been a no-hitter on the final day of the season. Last year, Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins threw one against Detroit to close the season — on Sunday, he was Miami's starting pitcher against Zimmermann.
The Nationals put a stirring finish to a regular season in which they finished with the best record in the National League.