The extra inning rule is simple: it puts a runner at second base to start the inning once a game reaches the 11th inning. The player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat. Should the player starting the inning on second base eventually score, it will count in the statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but will not count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average.
“This rule was very well-received in the Can-Am League last year, and we’re looking forward to using this innovation in the American Association,” said American Association commissioner Miles Wolff.
Similar rules are also in effect for most international competitions, including during the World Baseball Classic and the IBAF World Championships.
Interestingly, the first time the rule was invoked, an American Association team was involved. The St. Paul Saints and Quebec Capitales were the first teams to partake in the international tiebreaking rule on June 2. With the game tied at five in the 11th Angelo Songco started at second. The Saints elected to bunt with Carlos Escobar, who reached on a single. Joey Becker gave the Saints a 6-5 lead with an RBI double and Devin Thaut followed with a three-run homer to make it 9-5.
The Capitales, trailing by four, did not bunt with the runner at second, received a one walk to Matt Helms and, with two outs, Mike Provencher doubled home a pair to make it 9-7. Dan Sattler struck out Jonathan Malo to end the game, giving the Saints the historic victory.