It turns out the Miami Marlins had their own way of honoring Mariano Rivera in his home country.
Rivera threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Brad Hand and three relievers combined for a no-hitter in Miami's 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night in the first of two exhibition games in Panama in honor of baseball's career saves leader.
"It wasn't the historic night that I envisioned," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Hand struck out six in five innings. Steve Cishek then walked one while recording three outs, and A.J. Ramos walked one in two scoreless innings. Arquimedes Caminero worked the ninth.
"It's a first no-hitter I've ever seen or been a part of in spring training," Marlins manager Mike 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."
New York captain Derek Jeter went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano also went 0 for 3.
The 44-year-old Rivera, a native of the fishing village of Puerto Caimito, spent his entire 19-year career in the major leagues with the Yankees. He spoke to the crowd before the game, delighted to have his old team in his country.
"You guys deserve this. I could not expect more," Rivera said. "I will always have you in my heart and I know I*m in your heart."
He made his first pitch to David Robertson, who is expected to take over his role as closer with the Yankees.
"That was neat. He came through the right-field wall, which he's done so many times," Girardi said. "I just thought they did a really good job with the event tonight, the way they honored Mo, and you could see the happiness in Mo when he was on that mound speaking to the Panamanian people."