Thursday, September 23, 2021

Passing Runners - When a Home Run Becomes a Single

In this passing runners Teachable Moment, tmac reviews 1B Umpire Sam Holbrook's out call on batter-runner Adam Duvall after an apparent home run when Braves baserunner R1 Austin Riley, by jogging back toward first base, enabled Duvall to inadvertently pass a preceding runner, comparing this play to Robin Ventura's grand slam single from Game 5 of the 1999 Braves-Mets National League Championship Series when Ventura was declared out for passing preceding New York runner Todd Pratt.

The relevant rule itself is Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(9), which states that a runner is out when "they pass a preceding runner before such runner is out." The rule's comment goes on to clarify that "A runner may be deemed to have passed a preceding (i.e., lead) runner based on their actions or the actions of a preceding runner."

The rule applies during any live ball period as well as any dead ball period in which ordinary base-running rules and responsibilities are in effect (e.g., during a home run or "ground rule" double base award, as opposed to during a foul ball, when the rule does not apply because no bases are being run and no runners are advancing once the ball is declared foul).

Because Duvall passed Riley after touching first base but before reaching second, Duvall is credited with a single. Had there been two outs when Duvall hit the not-quite-a-HR, the passing call for the inning's third out would result in a time play for any potential runs scoring.

For more information, refer to our previous series on passing runners.


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