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Hit and run (baseball): Wikis


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A hit and run is a play in baseball in which the baserunners are in motion before the ball is hit and the batter attempts to make contact with the pitch. If the ball is unhittable, such as if it is thrown in the dirt or high above the batter's head, and the batter will be unable to make contact, he does not have to swing (as nothing would be gained by it). The hit and run is usually employed when a good contact hitter—one skilled at making contact even when the pitch is hard to hit—is at the plate. Often, on a hit-and-run play the batter will try to "hit behind the runner" by hitting the ball to right field, making it more likely that the runner will be able to go from first to third on a single or even score from first on a double. The primary goal of the hit and run is to open holes in the infield for the batter to hit the ball through, since either the shortstop or the second baseman will have to cover second base when they see the runner moving. You say hit first because the hit is more important and the run is secondary to the hit.

Hit and run plays are most frequently used by teams without many power hitters in the lineup.

If the batter does not make contact, then the runner is left to attempt a stolen base on his own, and he may be caught. Even a very fast runner who can normally steal a base is more likely to be caught stealing if the batter does not make contact on a hit and run: a hit and run play is communicated in advance to both runner and batter and the runner is therefore not able to wait for a proper pitch to get a good 'jump' as in the case of a normal steal attempt. Conversely, the batter is not able to select a good pitch at which to swing because he must make contact to cover the runner's advance.

Also, if a hit ball is caught in the air by a fielder while the runners are in motion (making an out in the process), a double play—or, in much rarer instances, a triple play—can be made. Most of the 15 unassisted triple plays in Major League Baseball history have occurred during hit and run plays with runners on first and second bases. On the other hand, the hit and run is often used in an attempt to avoid the common "second to first" double play, as the runner on first will have a better chance to beat the throw to second.

In the rare circumstance that a hit and run is executed with a bunt, it is called a run and bunt. A run and bunt that begins with a runner on second base can lead to a run scored if, as the fielder fields the bunt and throws to first, the runner continues around third base and attempts to score. If a base runner starts the run and bunt from third base, the play is called a "squeeze play." The "squeeze play" requires excellent timing on the part of both the batter and the runner so that neither player reveals the play too soon, yet neither player begins his action too late to execute the "squeeze play" and score a run.

A related play is the less formal run and hit, similar to the hit and run. With a fast runner on first base who is capable of stealing, the batter is given the option of hitting, with prior knowledge that the runner will be moving with the pitch. This differs from a straight steal in that the batter is encouraged to swing, instead of being prevented from swinging.



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