TWO games end with runner hit by batted ball! How do you score that???
On Saturday there were a couple of rare instances of a runner being hit by a batted ball. More coincidentally, they both happened with two outs in the 9th inning, ending the game, as the batting teams were mounting comebacks. What are the odds of that? I don’t know, this isn’t a stats blog (maybe I’ll create one someday?), but runners hit by batted balls is infrequent enough, happening twice in one day is exponentally rarer, and having it possibly cost your team a game in the 9th….
Anyhow here are the detais of the first occurrence. The Giants were leading the Angels 5-2 heading into the 9th.
Anaheim LA rallied to make it 5-3 and had runners on 1st and 2nd when David Freese singled to make it 5-4 with runners on the corners. Since Freese was the potential winning run, he was pinchran for by rookie utility infielder Taylor Featherston as Matt Joyce came to the plate. And then this happened:
Wow! What a way to kill a rally. The pinch runner gets hit with the batted ball. By rule he is out, and the batter is awarded first base, and no other runners can advance unless forced. So how do we score that? Well, it’s a hit for Matt Joyce, but who gets the putout?
According to rule 10.09 (c) (2) “The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts….when a runner is called out for being touched by a fair ball …credit the putout to the fielder nearest the ball.”
So in this case, the official scorer credited second baseman Joe Panik with the putout.
Meanwhile the other LA team was the beneficiary of a simiar play. They had come back in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 6-4 lead over the Diamondbacks. In the 9th Arizona had a runner on first which brought the tying run to the plate. And it was David Peralta who could easily tie the game with a swing of the bat. Tension was mouning at Chavez Ravine. Peralta hit the ball solidly up the middle and…
This one wasn’t quite as obvious as the Angels runner, but the ball does deflect slightly off of Jordan Pacheco and you can see 2nd base umpire Jeff Kellogg clearly point to the runner and indicate he is out for interference, ending the game. And as in the Giants game, the second baseman (Howie Kendrick) also got credit for the putout.
That’s two putouts for second basemen who didn’t touch the ball to save a game for their teams, on the same day!