Yu Darvish, near perfection & MLB Rule 10.12

Let's take a look at the rule that kept Yu Darvish's no-hitter going Friday night before he eventually lost it.

Yu Darvish came within one out of a no-hitter on Friday night against the Red Sox, but the Rangers ace nearly had a controversial brush with history. Darvish did allow one batted ball that hit the ground before it was touched by any fielder in the seventh inning, giving us all a lesson in the MLB rule book.

David Ortiz hit a single in the ninth inning to break up Darvish's no-hitter, but the ball Ortiz hit with two outs in the seventh inning to break up the perfect game was ruled an error and not a hit. The ball was an easy pop fly in short right field that could have been caught by either second baseman Rougned Odor or right fielder Alex Rios.

The ball dropped between Odor and Rios, breaking up a perfect game for Darvish at that point. The play was ruled an error on Rios, thanks to MLB Rule 10.12(a)(1):

(a) The official scorer shall charge an error against any fielder:
(1) whose misplay (fumble, muff or wild throw) prolongs the time at bat of a batter, prolongs the presence on the bases of a runner or permits a runner to advance one or more bases, unless, in the judgment of the official scorer, such fielder deliberately permits a foul fly to fall safe with a runner on third base before two are out in order that the runner on third shall not score after the catch;

It is not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a fielder's legs or a fly ball falls untouched and, in the scorer's judgment, the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error.

The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball.

It makes perfect logical sense that the ball was called an error rather than a hit, as outlined by the rule book. It's just not something that gets called an error very often, in a normal situation.

But Friday night in Arlington was no normal situation. It was fun while it lasted, anyway, and informative, too.

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