Double Credit: Why Wasn’t Matt Carpenter's Game Winning Hit Last Night Scored a Ground-Rule Double?

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

Last night, to win the Cardinals game against the Cubs, in the bottom of the 10th Inning, with the bases loaded, Matt Carpenter hit a ball to the outfield which dropped and then hopped immediately out of play into the stands. According to MLB Rules 5.05(a)(6) through 5.05(a)(9) (and Busch Stadium's ground rules), Matt Carpenter should have immediately been credited with a Ground-Rule Double. Why Not?


According to MLB Rule 7.01(g)(3), “If the home team scores the winning run in its half of the ninth inning (or its half of an extra inning after a tie), the game ends immediately when the winning run is scored.” Thus, when Kolten Wong crossed the plate after Matt Carpenter’s hit, the game immediately ended.


If this "game ends immediately" rule is true, then why do we credit all of the runs on bases when a player hits a game-ending, walk-off home run? For example, upon Kolten Wong’s walk off home run against the Cubs last year, the Cardinals added TWO runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to win 8-6? Well, MLB Rule 7.01 actually includes a SINGLE EXCEPTION that states “If the batter in a game hits a home run out of the playing field, the batter-running and all runners on base are permitted to score, in accordance with the base-running rules, and the game ends when the batter-runner touches home plate.”


Thus, walk-off home runs are permitted to score all runs on base, but walk-off ground-rule doubles (and any other hit) are not permitted to score all runs on base.


Regardless, last night’s game was a tremendous game to watch and a huge credit to the Cardinals pitchers (Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez, Jordan Hicks) and the Cardinals RBI batters (Marcell Ozuna, Matt Carpenter) for the win.

Adam Van Grack is an attorney at the law firm of Longman & Van Grack, LLC practicing litigation, business law, and sports law. Adam is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals having attended Washington University in St. Louis for college and law school. Adam has been previously appointed as the Chair of a U.S. Olympic National Governing Body.