The Astros were scoreless through eight innings. Down six runs, Tyler White put the Astros on the board with a three-run home run. Two batters later, Preston Tucker would cut the lead even further driving in another run with a double.
The Astros looked to be in business, the momentum was shifting in the team's favor. Colby Rasmus would draw a walk and Houston had runners on second and first. The Brewers appeared to be on the verge of unraveling at the seems.
With one out, Jose Altuve grounded to the second baseman, Scooter Gennett. Gennett flipped the ball to shortstop and former Astros Jonathan Villar. Rasmus was called out at second. In real time, the appeared normal as Villar held the ball with Altuve racing up the line on the slow roller.
The tieing run was still 270 feet away from scoring and Milwaukee needed just one more out end the game. It appeared like a smart, safe move by Villar.
But, Villar didn't have to worry about throwing to second. The umpire ruled that Altuve was out as well because of an illegal slide by Rasmus.
Of course, Astros manager A.J. Hinch went out to argue and/or get clarification on the ruling. The play was reviewed and upheld. The game was over.
The concept of an "illegal slide" is a result of the Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley violently taking out the New York Mets' Ruben Tejada and breaking his leg with a slide in the 2015 Playoffs.
There weren't any form of repercussions for Utley's action on the field that the umpires could turn to in 2015. Utley recklessly attempted to help his team by injuring another player. On the surface, the new rule protecting fielder's would, of course, helped out Tejada but the rule goes too far.
The fact that the runner is actually attempting to make a slide or isn't actively throwing his body into the fielder at second isn't taken into account. It only matters if the runner can still touch the bag from where he slide.
Colby Rasmus knew he was going to be out, his next goal was to keep himself healthy as he notes in the post game interview:
Had Rasmus not slid past the bag, the Astros would have runners on the corners with George Springer up to bat. Who knows what would have happened?
This is not the first time this season the new rule has come into play. Earlier in the week, Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista did the exact same thing in nearly the exact same circumstances.
The only thing that hurts is is that after these two instances, MLB will more than likely clarify the interpretation of the rule. But only after the Astros loss Friday.