What are earned runs?

What are earned runs? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. plural of earned run
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Examples
In three previous starts against the Dodgers this season, Jennings had allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings.
In two appearances since returning from his 18-day banishment to Triple-A Las Vegas, Carter has allowed three earned runs on five hits over two innings.
In one of the losses, Derek Lowe was on the hill but was unlucky to be on the wrong side given he went six innings with no earned runs recorded by Oakland.
The left hander pitched six innings and gave up four earned runs.
In those three outings, which accounted for his only defeats of the season, he gave up 22 earned runs.
The A's had nine hits off the 20-year-old in only three innings, as Kazmir allowed five earned runs while striking out only two.

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