How Cardinals and Nolan Gorman’s unique base running confused Pirates, led to St. Louis run

Baseball is hardly a sport known for its live-action strategy. It seems like it plays a bit like a card game both players know extremely well, with in-game action looking routine more often than not. The St. Louis Cardinals challenge those conventions both defensively and on the basepaths, and they showed off one of their fresh tricks Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates.

Already up 2-0 with the bases loaded and two out, rookie Nolan Gorman ran out a Paul Goldschmidt ground ball from first base. Rather than sliding into second, he sprinted through the bag, putting himself in a rundown situation. As he did this, Edmundo Sosa tried to run home from second, but he eventually ran out of the basepath and was called out. 

The runner who scored from third, however, counted, and the Cardinals left the inning with a 3-0 lead.

Why did Nolan Gorman overrun second base?

Put simply, this is situational base running by St. Louis. Because sliding slows players down, they often end up out in situations they could be safe in. By overrunning second base, Gorman doesn’t break his stride and gives himself a better chance to be called safe. That’s exactly what happened in Gorman’s case as he overran second base.

MORE: Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas loses no-hitter in agonizing fashion, gives up hit with two strikes & two outs in ninth inning

Why did the run count even though the inning ended?

One of the simpler rules in baseball is that if a force out ends the inning, then any runs don’t count. However, if a player is tagged outside of a force situation, then any runs scored before the tag will count.

Once Gorman overran second base, he took the force away from the play, putting himself and Sosa in no-man’s land. Sosa trying to score was ultimately the right play, as Gorman was undoubtedly hoping to draw the rundown out enough to let him score, but to their credit the Pirates reacted to him quickly enough to shift the rundown to him.

Gorman has shown good flashes in his nascent career, slashing .273/.351/.455 with three home runs. It goes without saying the young second baseman has a lot of room for growth, but making heady plays like this in real-time should keep him on a big league roster for a long time.

Facebook Comments Box