What if the result of a dropped foul, and the batter’s 2nd chance, is better for the defense (and the pitcher) than if the foul had been caught?
Batter bats with 1st and 3rd, no out. A fielder drops his foul. Batter then grounds into DP with runner scoring from 3rd. Bases are empty with 2 outs. Next batter hits popup to infield, ending inning with 1 run scored. Is it earned or unearned?
If the fielder had caught the foul, there would have been runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, no run in, but there would have been no DP. The next batter’s popup makes the 2nd out; there are still runners on 1st and 3rd, no runs in. So without the dropped foul, no run has scored but the inning should still have runners on 1st and 3rd with only 2 outs. I say the run is unearned despite the fact that the dropped foul subsequently caused an extra out for the defense.