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Encyclopedia > Line score

In baseball, the totality of a game is summarized in a line score, or more verbosely in a box score. The line score reports each team's runs each inning, total runs, total hits, and total errors on a line. The box score lists the line score as well as individual and team achievements in the game.

Here is an example box score from a very famous game in baseball history, game 6 of the 1991 World Series.

 Saturday, October 26, 1991 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota Atlanta 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 – 3 9 1 Minnesota 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 4 9 0 Atlanta Braves ab r h rbi Smith dh 3 1 0 0 Pendleton 3b 5 1 4 2 Gant cf 5 0 0 1 Justice rf 4 0 0 0 Bream 1b 4 0 1 0 Mitchell pr,lf 0 0 0 0 Hunter lf,1b 5 0 0 0 Olson c 5 0 0 0 Lemke 2b 4 1 2 0 Belliard ss 2 0 1 0 Gregg ph 0 0 0 0 Blauser ph,ss 2 0 1 0 Totals 39 3 9 3 Minnesota Twins ab r h rbi Gladden lf 4 1 0 0 Knoblauch 2b 5 1 1 0 Puckett cf 4 2 3 3 Davis dh 4 0 0 0 Mack rf 4 0 2 1 Leius 3b 3 0 2 0 Pagliarulo ph,3b 1 0 0 0 Hrbek 1b 4 0 0 0 Ortiz c 2 0 0 0 Harper ph,c 2 0 0 0 Gagne ss 4 0 1 0 Totals 37 4 9 4 Pitchers Atlanta Braves IP H R ER BB SO Avery 6.0 6 3 3 1 3 Stanton 2.0 2 0 0 0 1 Pena 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 Leibrandt L (0-2) 0.0 1 1 1 0 0 Minnesota Twins IP H R ER BB SO Erickson 6.0 5 3 3 2 2 Guthrie 0.1 1 0 0 1 1 Willis 2.2 1 0 0 0 1 Aguilera W (1-1) 2.0 2 0 0 0 0 E–Hunter (1). DP–Atlanta 2, Minnesota 2. 2B–Minnesota Mack (1,off Avery). 3B–Minnesota Puckett (1,off Avery). HR–Atlanta Pendleton (2,5th inning off Erickson, 1 on, 1 out); Minnesota Puckett (2,11th inning off Leibrandt 0 on, 0 out). HBP–Smith (1,by Erickson). SF–Puckett (1,off Avery). CS–Mitchell (1,2nd base by Aguilera/Harper). SB–Gladden (2,2nd base off Avery/Olson); Puckett (1,2nd base off Stanton/Olson). WP–Guthrie (1). HBP–Erickson (1,Smith). U–Ed Montague (NL), Don Denkinger (AL), Harry Wendelstedt (NL), Drew Coble (AL), Rick Reed (AL), Terry Tata (NL). T–3:46. A–55,155. 

At the top of the box score, the editor of a publication may list the time, date, and/or place of the game. Often some these data are omitted as redundant; the reader knows where the home team plays, and can consult a schedule to see the time the game began. In our game, the stadium's name and city is listed (the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

The line score is always listed somewhere in the box score, often near the top. The home team is listed second, because the visiting team always is on offense in the top half of each inning. The line score then lists the total runs scored in each inning. In our example, the Atlanta Braves scored two runs in the fifth inning and one in the seventh. The Minnesota Twins scored two runs in the first inning, one in the fifth, and one in the eleventh. Innings are always grouped in sets of three to ease reading; sometimes each digit within these sets has no spacing between it and the next digit. The team totals of runs, hits, and errors are listed last, after a separating character such as a dash. The actual score of the game is represented by the first column after the dash; the Twins won this game four runs to three. The line score is very common in published baseball information, so the reader is expected to know the significance of these numbers without column headings.

Next in our example is the summary of individual batters' achievements in the game. Again, the home team is listed second. The batters for each team are listed in their nine-man batting order, with their baseball positions listed either before or after their last name. Typically last names only are shown, unless there are two players with the same name on a team, in which case a distinctive first initial is used. When a player switches defensive position, both positions are listed--in our game, Brian Hunter, the Braves' sixth batter, started in left field but also served as the first baseman. Any substitutes for a starting player are listed underneath such batter; these substitutes are given the position "ph" if they enter as pinch hitters, "pr" if as pinch runners, or just the abbreviation for their positions if as defensive substitutions. When a pinch hitter or pinch runner stays in the game to play defense, his position is listed as well. Some publications will indent substitutes' names to indicate their spot in the order was the same as the non-indented starter's name above it; others will leave all names left-justified. In one of five offensive subsitutions in our game, the Twins' Brian Harper was a pinch hitter for Junior Ortiz, and then stayed in the game to become the new catcher.

Vital batting statistics are displayed to the right of the names in the lineup. At minimum are shown each batter's at bats, runs, hits, and runs batted in, which are the only statistics shown in our example. Many box scores will show further statistics for each player, such as home runs, stolen bases, bases on balls, strikeouts, fielding errors, times left on base, home runs, or season batting average. From this section, fans may talk about a player's line--one might say that "Kirby Puckett had a great game, going three (hits) for four (at bats), with three RBIs." At the bottom of the lineup are the team totals for each statistic, which are simply the numbers above it added together. The number of hits and runs here must match the number of hits and runs in the line score above it.

Below the batting orders, the pitching summary is listed. Each pitcher used in the game is listed, along with any decision awarded to that pitcher. A pitcher can be credited with a win, a loss, a save, or a hold. If a pitcher records a win or a loss, his season wins and losses are printed as well. If a pitcher records a hold or a save, his season total for that statistic is printed. Since our game is a postseason matchup, the totals here represent this series only. To the right of each pitcher's name are printed his innings pitched, hits given up, runs allowed, earned runs allowed, bases on balls allowed, and strikeouts allowed. Again, more elaborate statistics may also be displayed, such as home runs allowed, pitch count, or the pitcher's season earned run average.

Miscellaneous statistics will be listed in non-tabular form somewhere in the box score, usually following the pitching summary, though sometimes after each batting order. In our game, we can see that:

  • There was one error in the game, committed by Brian Hunter. It was his first in the season (actually, this postseason series).
  • Each team turned two double plays. Some boxscores will also list the fielders involved in each double play.
  • Shane Mack hit the game's only double, on a pitch from Steve Avery; it was his first in this postseason series.
  • Kirby Puckett hit the only triple in the game, on a pitch from Avery; it his first triple in this series.
  • There were two home runs in the game. With one out, Terry Pendleton hit his second home run of the series, a two-run home run on a pitch from Scott Erickson in the fifth inning; with no outs, Puckett hit a solo home run in the botton of the eleventh inning, his second homer of the series, which won the game for Minnesota.
  • Lonnie Smith was hit by a pitch from Erickson. It was his first time being hit in this series
  • Puckett got a run batted in on a sacrifice fly, hit off of Avery.
  • Keith Mitchell was thrown out by Brian Harper when attempting to steal second base on a pitch by Rick Aguilera.
  • Dan Gladden stole his second base of the series on a pitch from Avery to Greg Olson; Puckett also stole second on a pitch from Mike Stanton--his first stolen base of the series.
  • Mark Guthrie threw one wild pitch, his first of the series.
  • Six umpires worked this game, and their names are listed. Typically the umpire-in-chief is listed first, then the umpires for each base in order, then the left and right field umpires, if any. We can also see which league each umpire worked during the regular season.

Other, rarer events would also be listed in this section, such as triple plays, ejections, passed balls, or any other event deemed notable.

Finally, the length of the game in hours and minutes as well as the attendance (number of tickets sold) is listed.

In a baseball game, the number of plate appearances for each team must be equal to the number of batters put out, scored, and left on base. A box score is in balance (or proved) when the total of the team's times at bat, bases on balls received, hit batters, sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies and batters awarded first base because of interference or obstruction equals the total of that team's runs, players left on base and the opposing team's putouts. If a box score is unbalanced, then there is a logical contradiction and thus an error somewhere in the box score.

  Results from FactBites:
Box score (baseball) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1807 words)
The line score is a two-line chart that reports each team's run totals by inning, and total runs, total hits, and total errors on a line.
The line score is always listed as part of the box score, usually near the top; it lists the total runs scored in each inning.
The Minnesota Twins scored two runs in the first inning, one in the fifth, and one in the eleventh.
  More results at FactBites »



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