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Baseball Extra Innings Rules

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baseball inning

In baseball, there is no clock. Instead, games consist of innings that each have two parts called half-innings. The top-half is where the away team bats, while the home team bats in the bottom-half. Each half-inning ends when three outs are made by the fielding team.


Extra Innings / Overtime

There are nine innings in a game. If the score is tied at the end of the ninth inning, additional innings are played called extra innings. Extra innings will be played until the away team has more runs at the end of the bottom-half, or the home team has more runs at the end of the top-half. If the score remains tied, more innings will be played. There is no limit to the amount of extra innings that can be played. There are no draws in baseball and a winner must be declared. Sometimes, the full inning is not played. If the home team is winning at the end of the top-half, then the bottom-half of the inning is not played. In this case, the home team has an advantage over the away team, since they bat second.


The Winning Run

When the winning run is scored, the base runner is still expected to follow the rules of base running. The batter will be called out if he fails to follow the rules. There is one exception to this rule. If fans and spectators rush the field and prevent the runner from completing the run, then it is ignored. Base runners are not allowed to pass runners ahead of them, or they will be called out.


Extra Inning Examples

We've summarized a list of scenarios that can occur in a baseball game and if extra innings are played to determine the winner:

The home team scores a home run or the winning run in the bottom-half of an extra inning giving them the lead. The game ends and the home team wins.
The away team has fewer runs at the start of the bottom-half of the extra inning.The game ends and the home team wins.
The away team has more runs at the end of the extra inning.The game ends and the away team wins.
The home team is winning at the start of the bottom of the ninth inning.Extra innings are not played. The game ends and the home team wins.
The home team gets a base on balls with bases loaded.The home team wins once the runner on third base reaches home plate.

Longest Game in History

The longest game in professional baseball featured the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings that lasted 33 innings on April 18, 1981. The Red Sox won the game 3-2.

Another long game featuring the Brooklyn Robins versus the Boston Braves on May 20, 1920 lasted 26 innings and ended in a called game by the umpire due to weather conditions. The score was 1-1.


MLB and College Baseball Extra Innings

In the MLB and college baseball, extra innings are just like any normal inning. The game continues as normal and lineups do not reset. Managers have the option to keep the same pitchers in the game from the 9th inning. Managers also have the option to make substitutions to fielders and hitters.


World Baseball Classic Extra Innings

For games during the World Baseball Classic, there are still extra innings. However, if the score is tied after the 10th inning, any at-bat in the 11th inning and future innings will begin with runners on first base and second base. The runners on base will always be the last batters to get out from the previous at-bat. This format is designed to speed up extra innings to determine the winning team.