Ohtani is first automatic runner in extras

July 25th, 2020

continues to make history.

The Angels’ two-way star became the first automatic runner as part of baseball’s new extra-inning rules for the 2020 season.

This came in the 10th inning of Friday’s epic A’s-Angels clash, which ended on a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the frame by Oakland first baseman Matt Olson, giving the A’s a 7-3 win.

As part of MLB's health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, all half-innings after the ninth will begin with a runner on second base in the 2020 regular season. This rule will not be in place for the 2020 postseason or the 2021 campaign.

The automatic runner is the player who was the last to bat in the previous inning, or a pinch-runner for such player. Ohtani had made the last out of the ninth inning (a strikeout against Liam Hendriks with two men on base) and therefore started the 10th on second base. He tried to advance to third on a ground ball to first base, but was thrown out at third by Olson, and Los Angeles did not score.

In the bottom of the 10th, the A’s automatic runner was Marcus Semien, and he came around to score on Olson’s slam.