Hit and run
is also a play in baseball
where the baserunners are put in motion before the ball is hit. Usually this is employed when a good contact hitter is at the plate. Hit and run plays can result in a runner going from first to third on a single, or even scoring from first on a double. Another goal of a hit and run is to open up holes in the infield for the batter to hit the ball through, since either the shortstop or second baseman will have to cover second base when they see the runner moving.
Hit and run plays are most frequently used by teams without many power hitters in the lineup, as they may have to "manufacture runs" this way on occasion.
The batter should make an attempt to make contact when the runner is in motion, since failure to do so may result in the runner being caught stealing
. 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. 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 bunt and run
. A bunt and run
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 bunt and run
from third base, the batter is said to be laying down a "squeeze bunt". The "squeeze bunt" 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 their responsibility too late to successfully execute the "squeeze bunt" and score a run.
A related play is the less formal run and hit
, similar to the hit and run, except 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.