Baseball Scoring Definitions

These definitions are derived from several sets of rules for different playing levels - professional major league, high school, and Little League Senior Division. These are intended as an introduction and summary only. You should consult your particular rule book for more detailed definitions.


In order for a run to be earned, it must be scored without the aid of errors, or passed balls. To determine whether runs are earned or not, reconstruct the inning without the errors and passed balls. Whenever a fielding error occurs, the pitcher is given the benefit of the doubt in determining to which bases any runners would have advanced had there not been an error.


An error is scored against any fielder for each misplay (fumble, muff, or wild throw) which prolongs the time at bat of a batter or which prolongs the life of a runner, or which permits a runner to advance one or more bases. Slow handling of the ball which does not involve mechanical misplay is not an error. It is not necessary for the fielder to touch the ball to be charged with an error. The key point in determining if an error should be scored is that if the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, an error should be given. Mental mistakes should not be scored as errors. A foul fly ball which is muffed is scored as an error. Passed balls and wild pitches are not errors. A catcher is not charged with an error for a wild throw to a base on a steal attempt unless the runner advances an extra base because of the wild throw.


A passed ball is a pitch the catcher fails to stop or control when he should have been able to do so with ordinary effort and on which a runner is able to advance. When a passed ball occurs on the third strike, permitting the batter to reach first base, score the play as a strikeout and a passed ball. A passed ball is not counted as an error.


An RBI is credited to the batter when a runner scores because of: a base hit; a sacrifice bunt; a sacrifce fly; any putout; a forced advance such as for a base on balls or batter being hit by a pitch; or an error, provided two are not yet out and that action is such that the runner on third would have scored even if there had been no error. Do not credit an RBI if a runner scores because of a passed ball, wild pitch, or stolen base. Do not credit an RBI when the batter grounds into a force douple play, or when a fielder is charged with an error at first base that would have completed a force double play.


Score a sacrifice when, before two are out, the batter advances one or more runners with a bunt and is put out at first base, or would have been put out except for a fielding error. A sacrifice does not count as a time at bat when computing statistics such as batting average. Do not score a sacrifice if a runner is put out while trying to advance as a result of the bunt. Do not score a sacrifice on a ground ball that advances a runner. Do not score a sacrifice if the batter is bunting in an attempt to safely reach first base rather than trying to sacrifice himself to advance a runner.


A sacrifice fly is scored when, before two are out, the batter hits a fly ball or a line drive handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield which (1) is caught, and a runner scores after teh catch, or (2) is dropped, and a runner scores, if in the scorer's judgement the runner could have scored after the catch if the fly had been caught. A sacrifice fly does not count as a time at bat when computing statistics such as batting average.


A stolen base is credited to a runner when he advances a base without the aid of a base hit, a putout, a fielding error, a wild pitch, or a passed ball. If a runner is attempting to steal as the pitch is thrown, and the catcher does not control the pitch, it should be scored as a stolen pass, not a wild pitch or passed ball.

Exceptions - The runner is not credited with a stolen base if:

  1. After reaching the base, the runner overslides the base and is put out
  2. In an attempted double or triple steal, any runner is put out
  3. The runner advances solely because of a defensive team's indifference. This should be scored as a fielder's choice.


A wild pitch is scored when a ball legally delivered to the batter is so high, or so low (including any pitch that touches the ground in front of home plate), or so far away from home plate that the catcher does not stop or control it with ordinary effort so that the runner advances a base. A wild pitch is not counted as an error.


The hold is not an official statistic, but it was created as a way to credit middle relief pitchers for a job well done. If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold. A pitcher can't get a save and hold in the same game.