Adbert Alzolay

Obscure MLB rule takes win away from Cubs' Héctor Neris

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The Chicago Cubs escaped Wrigley Field with a 9-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night, but the credit for that win rapidly changed after the game thanks to a relatively obscure MLB rule.

The Cubs were leading the game 8-3 heading into the eighth inning of the game when Yency Almonte took the mound. He was pulled after just one-third of an inning, and was ultimately charged with three earned runs.

Héctor Neris came into the game after that and though he was able to finish off the frame, the Rockies added two earned runs off of him, tying the game at 8-8 thanks to an RBI single by Charlie Blackmon and an RBI double by Ezequiel Tovar.

After a Seiya Suzuki fielder’s choice drove in Miles Mastrobuoni to give the Cubs the lead in the bottom of the inning, Adbert Alzolay came in and slammed the door for the save in the ninth.

Except that’s not how things played out in the eyes of the official scorer.

Normally, Neris would have been awarded the victory, as the game was tied when he finished his appearance and the Cubs took the lead before Alzolay took the mound.

According to the MLB rulebook however, an “official scorer can deem a relief pitcher’s appearance ‘brief and ineffective,’” and instead opt to award the win to a pitcher that followed that hurler’s appearance.

Under Rule 9.17c, an appearance can be granted that designation if the pitcher throws less than one inning and allows two or more earned runs to score.

That is indeed what happened in this case, and as a result Alzolay was awarded the win instead of the save by the official scorer.

No matter, the win was the Cubs’ fourth straight, and they’ll look to continue that on Friday when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

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