Any time a batter reaches by an error, then later scores, its an unearned run.
With 0 or 1 out and the guy reaches on an error, then the next guy homers…that’s one unearned run and one earned run.
With 2 out and the guy reaches on an error, then the next guy homers…both runs are unearned.
When there are two outs, then an error is made. If the team at the plate goes on to score ten runs after the error, all ten runs are unearned.
With no outs, Pastornicky grounds to third. The third-baseman throws wildly past first, down the rightfield line. The Pastor takes off, rounds second, and continues to third. The rightfielder’s throw gets past the third-baseman, and Pastornicky scores. Still no outs. That’s also an unearned run.
EXCEPTION: If the pitcher makes the error, it’s still an earned run.
EXAMPLE: Last night Will was pitching. Top of the first.
1. First batter singles to right. Batter steals second.
2. Second batter chops the ball to the first-baseman’s right. Runner heads to third. Ball glances off first-baseman’s glove. By the time he picks up the ball and tosses to Will covering first, the batter has crossed the bag…fielding error on the first baseman.
To make matters worse, the first-baseman tossed the ball OVER Will’s head (from 15 feet away). The batter scampers to second, and the baserunner scores…throwing error on the first-baseman. Earned run or unearned run? We don’t know yet.
3. Catcher picks runner off second. One out.
4. Third batter singles up the middle. This means the run is EARNED.
5. Fourth batter walks, putting runners on first and second.
6. Fifth batter flies out to centerfield. Two out.
7. Sixth batter hits a high popup in short centerfield. With two out, both runners run. Centerfielder could’ve made the catch, but shortstop calls for it. Ball hits off his glove, and drops to the ground. Both runners score. Since someone should’ve made the catch, it’s an error on the shortstop…even though it would’ve been a spectacular catch. Since the inning should’ve been over, both these runs are unearned.