Baseball Innings

What is an inning? How many innings are there? Get ready to learn about innings in baseball.


Unlike many other sports, baseball games are not contained by a clock or any form of measurable time. Instead, baseball games are comprised of innings. Each inning has a top half and a bottom half.

Baseball Inning

How Many Innings are There in a Baseball Game?

There are nine (9) innings in a baseball game that are used to decide the winning team.

How Do Innings Work?

In each half-inning, one team takes a turn to bat (on offense) while the other team is fielding (on defense). When the half-inning ends, the teams switch and the team playing defense is now on offense. A team can only score when it is their turn to bat; they cannot score while fielding. Half-innings end when the offensive team has three (3) outs. We will learn more about outs later in this chapter.

PRO TIP: The away team always bats first at the top of the inning, while the home team bats second at the bottom of the inning.

Top of the Inning/Top-Half

The first part of each inning is called the top of the inning/the top-half. The away team is always at-bat during the top-half, while the home team is on defense. When three (3) outs are made, the teams switch positions and transition into the bottom of the inning/bottom-half.

Baseball Top Of The Inning

Bottom of the Inning/Bottom-Half

The second part of each inning is called the bottom of the inning/the bottom-half. The home team is always at-bat during the bottom-half, while the away team is on defense. When three outs are made, the inning is over.

Baseball Bottom Of The Inning

Middle of the Inning

The middle of the inning is the transition period between the top-half and bottom-half of each inning. For MLB games, the middle of the inning is 2 minutes and 25 seconds for locally televised games, or 2 minutes and 45 seconds for nationally televised games.

Baseball Middle Of The Inning

The 9th Inning

In baseball, the 9th inning is the last inning in the game.

Baseball 9th Inning

Sometimes the bottom of the ninth inning (often abbreviated as the bottom of the ninth) is not played or ends before three (3) outs are made. The game is over and play will end immediately in the 9th inning if:

  1. The home team is in the lead at the end of top-half of the 9th inning
  2. The away team is in the lead at the end of the 9th inning

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