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Three Outs on Two Pitches?

John Rowland

Posted on August 20, 2018 11:55

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The Braves minor-league team records first known two-pitch, three-out half-inning.

At first glance, it seems crazy . . . impossible.

How could a team get out of a half-inning with only two pitches?

The answer: a madcap rule.

Big followers and students of the game of baseball probably already know all of this, but it is an interesting occurrence all the same.

It turns out that there are new extra-inning rules in the minor league that brought this about on August 10 during a Class A game between the "Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves affiliate) and West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates)."

The rule enabling this situation dealt with extra innings -- when regulation play ends in a tie: "[E]ach half inning beyond regulation is started with a runner on second base." The team at-bat can either designate this runner as the ninth batter due up that inning, or a pinch-runner.

So by putting a runner in scoring position (second base), this kind of resembles overtime in college football, where each team's offense is given the ball at the 25-yard-line -- basically in field-goal scoring position.

Hayden Deal was pitching for the Rome team.

His first pitch in the top of the inning was lined out to the second baseman, who promptly stepped on the bag, doubling-up the runner. The next batter ripped a line-drive out to the third baseman, ending the inning.

Two pitches, three outs.

Pretty bizarre, eh?

Or how about two pitchers who combine to throw a no-hitter, issue no walks, and yet one ends up as the losing pitcher.

In a game between the Clearwater Threshers and the Tampa Tarpons on August 5, with the same extra-inning rule in effect, the runner initially positioned on second base advanced to third thanks to a shortstop's error. The next batter brought the runner home on a fielder's choice. Clearwater won the game; Tampa's pitching staff took the loss despite issuing no walks and the no-no.

Here's the box score.

You gotta love it.

John Rowland

Posted on August 20, 2018 11:55

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