stole second and was then caught stealing second in the same inning Friday against Chicago. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
In the eighth inning of Friday night's game between the Brewers and Cubs, Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura led off the inning with a single, stole second, got caught in a run-down attempting to steal third, wound up on second base at the same time as Ryan Braun, retreated safely to first base, then made the final out of the inning by being thrown out attempting to steal second for the second time in the inning. Confused? Watch this:
[mlbvideo id="26416825" width="400" height="224" /]
When Braun and Segura both wound up at second base, Segura, as the leading runner, had the right to the bag, so Braun was out when he was tagged by Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena even though he was standing on the base. However, Valbuenna, though he tagged Segura twice, never tagged him off the base (if you pause the video on the second tag you can clearly see Segura's left toe on the base), so Segura was able to retreat safely to first base, though he needn't have done so. He was safe on second.
Rule 7.08(i) states that runners should be declared out for " run[ning] the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game." That rule was put into place in 1920 in response to a few isolated incidents of players, most famously Germany Schaefer, attempting to draw a throw at second base for the purpose of allowing a teammate on third base to steal home on a delayed double steal, failing to draw the throw, stealing first on the next pitch, and trying again. However, a comment associated with the rule states that if the runner "is decoyed into returning to the base he last touched," he may return safely to that base (assuming he's not tagged out).
Clearly there's was an interpretation to be made on the part of the umpires, and the umpires in this case ruled, correctly, that Segura returned to first out of confusion, not to "make a travesty of the game," though he came awfully close.