Base runners hit by batted ball end two games in rare occurrence
Considering that it hadn't happened in five years, there's no reason anyone should have expected a game to end when with a base runner hit by a batted ball. But it happened on Saturday—not once, but twice—to the benefit of the Giants and Dodgers.
In the afternoon game between the Giants and Angels at AT&T Park, the Halos entered the ninth inning down 5–2, having been kept at bay for eight innings by Tim Hudson. A six-pitch walk to lead off the ninth, drawn by Collin Cowgill, spelled the end for the 39-year-old righty, as manager Bruce Bochy brought in Sergio Romo. The Angels pieced together a rally, scoring two runs via singles by Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and David Freese but using two outs as Bochy cycled through Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla.
Representing the potential tying run after driving in Trout, Freese departed for pinch runner Taylor Featherston, a Rule 5 pick playing in his ninth major league game. Not even a decade or so of major league experience could have prevented him from being in the wrong place on this first-pitch scorcher off the bat of Matt Joyce.
Featherston, who had taken a generous lead, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; he was automatically out when the ball hit him via Rule 7.08(f). Ballgame, 5–4 Giants. Not that the kid should take it so hard, as Giants second baseman Joe Panik was well-positioned to make a play on Joyce's grounder. Instead, Joyce was credited with a hit that he'd surely trade for a win. Via the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time a game had ended on such a play since June 27, 2010, when a liner off the bat of the Pirates' Jose Tabata hit Pedro Alvarez, thus ending the game with a 3–2 score in favor of the A's.
Lightning struck yet again later on Saturday night in the game between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in Los Angeles. Down 6–4 in the ninth inning, the Diamondbacks' Jordan Pacheco hit a one-out single off Chris Hatcher. One out later, with David Peralta up to bat, Pacheco took off for second on the first pitch, and Peralta slapped a grounder about 15–20 feet to the right of second base. It hit Pacheco, who sped around the bag before finally being called out. Here's the call from Vin Scully.
The odds of two games ending in such fashion on the same day were probably far greater than anything spectators saw in the Kentucky Derby or the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Baseball wins again.