Squeeze play (baseball)
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In baseball, the squeeze play (a.k.a. squeeze bunt) is a maneuver consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score. Such a bunt is uncommon with two outs because there is a significant chance that the batter would be thrown out at first base, ending the inning. Likewise, such an attempt is unlikely with two strikes because a bunt that is fouled off with two strikes is an automatic strike out. According to Baseball Almanac, the squeeze play was invented in 1894 by George Case and Dutch Carter during a college game at Yale University.
In a safety squeeze, the runner at third takes a lead, but does not take off until the batter makes contact bunting, waiting for more certainty that the ball will go to a location from which it will be difficult for the fielding team to make an out at home plate.
In a suicide squeeze, the runner takes off as soon as the pitcher begins the windup to throw the pitch, and before releasing the ball. If properly executed, and the batter bunts the ball nearly anywhere in fair territory, a play at home plate is extremely unlikely. However, if the batter fails to make contact with the pitch, the runner is likely to be put out at home plate (hence, "suicide"). Therefore, the suicide squeeze usually requires a skilled bunter who can make contact consistently, even on difficult pitches.
These plays are often used in the late innings of a close game in order to score a tying, winning, or insurance run.
In a squeeze situation, when the batter squares around to bunt, the textbook play for the pitcher (who has started the windup and is committed to throw to the plate) is to throw the ball directly at the batter’s head. This forces the batter to hit the ground or otherwise get out of the way, allowing the catcher to receive the pitch and tag out the incoming runner.