Pitcher A allows the potential lead runner to reach base in a tie game. Pitcher B comes in to relieve and gives up a hit, then gets the lead runner out on a fielder's choice. Now, pitcher A has nobody left he put on base. Pitcher B gives up a run-scoring hit and the batted Pitcher B put on with a single scores the winning run. Who gets the loss?

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    I'm asking the question because I disagree with how it was done by MLB today. MLB gave the loss to Pitcher A, even though he didn't put the runner who scored the winning run on base. I think Pitcher B should get the loss.
    – Monte Cox
    Jun 3, 2013 at 5:53
  • I'm not very knowledgeable of baseball, but I've always found this kind of stuff to be very strange in baseball. It's fair enough for fans and commentators etc to record stats like this, but I find it weird that these subjective judgements (such as whether a play was a hit or an error) are part of the official scoring in baseball. In every other sport I know of, the official scoring only covers the objective facts that require no subjectivity. Jun 3, 2013 at 6:13
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    @Bogdanovist pitcher wins are an aribitrary and meaningless stat. As are errors and many other baseball statistics. This realization was part of the SABRmetric revolution.
    – wax eagle
    Jun 3, 2013 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


As you've stated pitcher A gets the loss. Here is the rule from the MLB official rule book: 9.16(g)

When pitchers are changed during an inning, the official scorer shall not charge the relief pitcher with any run (earned or unearned) scored by a runner who was on base at the time such relief pitcher entered the game, nor for runs scored by any runner who reaches base on a fielder’s choice that puts out a runner left on base by any preceding pitcher.

That's because when Pitcher B comes into the game with a runner on and gives up a fielder's choice. He has put his team in a better position to win the game, not a worse one. the other team is less likely to score a run with an additional out and a runner on than they would be with two runners on.

Just because Pitcher B faced the runner now on base. It's still Pitcher A's responsibility that there are runners on at all. Pitcher B should not be penalized for doing his job (getting an out). If the runner scores it's still the responsibility of Pitcher A.

Case 3 under the comment handles a situation similar to this:

Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker singles, advancing Abel to third base. Charlie grounds to short, with Abel out at home plate and Baker advancing to second base. Daniel flies out. Edward singles, scoring Baker. Baker’s run is charged to Peter

Lastly, we have to think of the intent of the rule, which MLB makes clear in the comment below (H/T to Joe for the suggestion to include this):

It is the intent of Rule 9.16(g) (Rule 10.16(g)) to charge each pitcher with the number of runners he put on base, rather than with the individual runners. When a pitcher puts runners on base and is relieved, such pitcher shall be charged with all runs subsequently scored up to and including the number of runners such pitcher left on base when such pitcher left the game, unless such runners are put out without action by the batter.

  • Are you sure this is correct? I thought whoever's runner scores gets the loss.
    – Matt
    Jun 6, 2013 at 15:25
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    @Matt see the rules citation. An explicit exception is made for a fielder's choice.
    – wax eagle
    Jun 6, 2013 at 15:37
  • Awesome, that's good stuff. I had no idea!
    – Matt
    Jun 6, 2013 at 15:55
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    I think mhodges is right; the trailing runner is the 'fielder's choice' runner. The now-lead-runner is B's responsibility, by that rule.
    – Joe
    Feb 17, 2016 at 21:28
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    @mhodges This answer is clearly correct from that last part he just added. (Note, 10.16 = 9.16 ; they renumbered between 2013 and 2015.)
    – Joe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 2:53

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