MILWAUKEE -- A play that turned out to be harmless in the end left official scorers scrambling and players and coaches scratching their heads for an explanation Friday night at Miller Park.
It was easy for the Brewers to laugh about it afterward because they held on to beat the Cubs, 5-4, for their fifth straight win, but they ran themselves out of a promising eighth inning in the most bizarre way possible.
Jean Segura was on second base and Ryan Braun on first base with nobody out in the eighth inning when Segura was fooled by an inside move from Cubs pitcher Shawn Camp and got caught in a rundown.
Braun advanced to second base, assuming Segura was going to be tagged out in the rundown. Segura instead retreated to second base, meaning Braun was out because Segura is allowed to return to the base he previously occupied.
Because Segura didn't know the rule, he came off of second base thinking he was out. Cubs manager Dale Sveum claimed afterward that Segura was tagged right when he left second base, but second base umpire Phil Cuzzi said after the game that he didn't see a tag. Segura ended up running all the way back to first base on what he thought was a trip back to the dugout.
"I was surprised," Segura said. "I was going to the dugout, and (first base coach) Garth (Iorg) told me to stay here because I was still alive."
Crew chief Tom Hallion and the rest of the crew reviewed film of the play in the umpires' room after the game, and they were sure Segura was never tagged.
Braun knew because second was Segura's base and that he would be the one ruled out if Segura got back to the base, so he was trying to yell that to the young shortstop. What Braun didn't know was whether Segura could go back to first base.
"It was actually a simple play until he came off the base," Braun said. "He was on the base, so it's his base. I did everything right as a baserunner, I'm supposed to go to the next base, but clearly a confusing play. I've never been a part of anything like that. It's simple what's supposed to happen, but as far as the ruling goes, I have no idea what they are supposed to do and what's normal."
Rule 7.08(i) of the Major League Baseball rulebook states "After he has acquired legal possession of a base, he runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game, the umpire shall immediately call "Time" and declare the runner out; If a runner touches an unoccupied base and then thinks the ball was caught or is decoyed into returning to the base he last touched, he may be put out running back to that base, but if he reaches the previously occupied base safely he cannot be put out while in contact with that base."
Safe at first legally, Segura tried to steal second base again a batter later but was thrown out to end the inning.
"Bizarre," Hallion said. "Technically, he stole second, stole first, then got thrown out stealing second.
"Bizarre, but the ruling was all correct."
Braun got a caught stealing on the play, even though he did exactly what he was supposed to do.
"We assume they are going to do their thing right in the rundown and he's going to be out and I'm then in scoring position," Braun said. "Either way, one of us is in scoring position, where as if I stay at first, you are just on first base and the other guy is going to be out 98 percent of the time.
"It's a good thing we were still able to win the game despite something like that happening."
Because there's no way to send Segura back to first in the computer, official scorer Tim O'Driscoll had to give Segura a caught stealing of third base. Years down the road, nobody will ever know how the play-by-play of the eighth inning of Friday's game actually happened.
Though Segura made a few baserunning blunders in one inning and didn't know a rule, Roenicke wasn't upset with his shortstop.
"Siggy is 23 years old," Roenicke said. "He has all kinds of energy, and he is going to make mistakes, we know that. His plusses are so good that the mistakes are going to happen."
And for the record, Segura didn't go back and watch the video.
"It was tough for me so I don't want to see it again," Segura said with a smile.
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