How Many Innings Are Played in a Regulation Baseball Game?
A standard, regulation length Major League Baseball game consists of 9 innings played. Each team bats for three outs and fields for three outs.
| Read: 5 min
The three exceptions to the rule include a rain/weather shortened game, extra innings, and the home team being in the lead as they close out the top of the ninth inning. Also, a game could be called prior to its completion for some sort of game misconduct or national/city emergency, but that’s extremely rare.
How many innings in a Doubleheader?
There are 18 innings played in a traditional MLB doubleheader. That’s of course assuming that neither game is affected by weather. It also assumes that neither game is tied in score after the bottom of the ninth.
7-Inning Doubleheaders in the pandemic
MLB adopted some intriguing baseball rules in the pandemic, which is saying a lot, because the game is quite averse to change. One of those rules was that teams would only play 7 innings per game in a doubleheader. The idea behind it was to limit the potential exposure rate of COVID amongst ballplayers, stadium staff, and fan alike.
However, that rule has since gone away in the 2022 season. The other rule change that was eliminated was a ghost baserunner starting the game on second base. Yeah, extra inning rules dictated that the batting team of the inning - both top half and bottom half - was awarded a ghostrunner to start the 10th inning and beyond. Nothing like throwing the fielding team into the fire right away we say.
Innings per league/level
Major League Baseball
As we covered earlier, a regulation game of Major League Baseball is played to nine innings. This means that the visiting team is guaranteed 27 outs with which to score as many runs as possible to try and defeat the home team. They bat at the top of the inning with the home team batting at the bottom of the inning.
Playoffs, inclement weather, and even the occasional bench-clearing brawl can alter the number of innings played in a MLB game. A tie at the end of regulation will force a game into extra innings. The home team need not complete their inning if they outscore the away team before they receive their third out.
Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball, much like its MLB parent, plays a nine inning game. No change in the strike zone, no change in the outs, and no change in how many innings get played in an official game.
New rules do get introduced at the minor league level for testing purposes, rules like a pitch clock to speed up the at bat process, slightly larger bases, and limiting the number of pick off attempts to encourage movement on the bases.
None of these rules alter each team’s half of the inning at the plate. And like most rules, they come from the good ol’ MLB headquarters in New York.
Different divisions have different rules. But for the most part, NCAA College Baseball games go 9 innings.
High School Baseball
While it’s true that a faire share of high school baseball games only play to the 7th inning, there are some leagues around the country that go the full nine. The two biggest challenges to the 9 inning format are lights and the potential for injuries to players.
Little League Baseball
Little League, and youth baseball in general, operates in a six inning format. They also tend to employ a time limit and a mercy rule to help keep the game tidy. The one exception to the six inning format of Little League is around playoffs, including the Little League World Series.
Playoff games are generally played through to completion, including starting them from where they left off on the next available day, especially when darkness was a reason to put the game on hiatus.
Which Professional Teams have played the longest regular season game?
The longest MLB game by baseball innings ever played was played on May 1, 1920 by the Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves. 26 total innings were played, with BOTH pitchers going the full distance. Even more crazy is that they both only gave up 1 run a piece. The game was called due to darkness.
"If a pitcher couldn't go the distance," Oeschger would tell the Sarasota Herald-Tribune decades later, "he soon found himself some other form of occupation."
Which Pro Teams have played the longest playoff game?
The Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers played the longest game in World Series and Playoff history in 2018. The Dodgers won in 18 innings on a home run by Max Muncy.
Gotta wonder if he was thinking, “I’m going yard” in the middle of the inning on the walk back to the dugout. Guess that’s how you benefit when the home team bats last.
If you watch the video, you’ll notice the umpire quickly get up and take his mask off. Is that because he wants to have a clear view of the hit, or is it because he wants to get out of the stadium after 18 innings behind the dish? Maybe a bit of both.
Who played in the longest Major/Minor League baseball game ever played?
The Paw Sox and the Rochester Red Wings went 33 innings on April 18th, 1981. The Paw Sox won with a score of 3-2. What’s wild about this game is that it had a 30 minute rain delay to start.
It turned legendary quickly. An umpire went 32 innings behind the dish. 19 fans remained, with some given season tickets (remember, this is early April) and some given LIFETIME tickets for their dedication.
Future Boston Hall of Famer Wade Boggs had to explain to his father, who was proud of the four hits that he had, that he received 12 at bats in the game. Gotta wonder if he had 12 beers after the game ... at 5 in the morning.
What is the minimum amount of batters in an official game?
In order for a 9 inning game to be considered complete, a minimum of 52 batters must arrive at home plate. The reason the number is 52 is because an official game of professional baseball can conclude in the middle of the 9th inning if the home team is ahead of the away team. However, at some point a batter on the home team must have reached base safely and proceeded to score.
What’s the deal with Boston teams?
Amazingly enough, Boston area teams tend to play some of the longest games in history. There’s the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers World Series game. Then there’s the Pawtucket Red Sox game that equates to the longest ever. And, the Boston Braves game in 1920.
And then there’s the NCAA College Baseball Game between the Boston College Eagles and Texas Longhorns on May 30th of 2009 that went 25 innings and took 7+ hours to complete.
For those counting, that’s 16 innings of sudden death, most runs in a full inning wins the game. That’s nearly two whole extra games that BC and Texas played on top of the original nine.
"It didn’t feel like 25 innings, honestly, when you’re in the moment and you’re competing," Texas second baseman Travis Tucker told NCAA.com.
References & Sources