Bases loaded with 2 outs, ground ball hit towards 3B/SS hole fielded by 3B. The third-basemen elects to try and tag the runner advancing from 2nd to 3rd, but the runner sees the decision and stops running (while staying inside the legal base path) forcing the 3B to continue chasing him to apply the tag. Meanwhile the runner at 3rd base was blazing home and crossed the plate decisively before the 3rd out was made by a tag. Umpire calls the runner safe at home because the 3rd out was not made by a FORCE out but instead a TAG out.... We realize that this 3rd basemen had a mental lapse as a force play is much easier even he has to go to second with it instead of touching 3rd....

I came up with another scenario which I think might happen more commonly in MLB, hopefully making it easier to find a record of this being called by a MLB umpire....

Bases loaded with one out, ground ball hit to SS, the short-stop fields clean and tosses it to the Second-basemen covering second who touches the base and throws on to first to complete the double play. The throw from the second-basemen is off the mark causing the first-basemen to come down the line toward home, he scoops it up and tags the runner for the 3rd out. However, the runner from third easily scored prior to the TAG being applied the batter/runner forced to first base. EDIT - In this case the batter/runner did not reach first safely so the run does not count according to According to MLB rules: 4.09 HOW A TEAM SCORES.

(a) One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning. EXCEPTION: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases.

However, I still can't find any specific wording in MLB rule book that states a tag applied to a forced runner still counts as a FORCE-OUT. Can anyone verify this claim??


1 Answer 1


Page 143 of the Official Baseball Rules defines a force play as:

...a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner.

Rule 5.09(b)(6), on retiring a runner (page 43 at above link) says that a runner is retired if:

He or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner. However, if a following runner is put out on a force play, the force is removed and the runner must be tagged to be put out.

Since "He" can be tagged, after he has been forced to advance, then I would say yes - a tagged forced runner is a force out. The language describes how a forced play happens, but does not differentiate between the methods of getting the forced runner out for it to be a force out.


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