What's buzzing:

Big League Stew

Hunter Pence’s breaking bat hits ball three times for three-run double (Video)

Big League Stew

SAN FRANCISCO — Only Hunter Pence. Only the athletically awkward Pence could have swung his bat, broken it, hit a pitch three times and come away with a three-run double in the biggest game of the season for the San Francisco Giants.

And only Ozzie Smith-like reflexes from St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma could have stopped Pence's grounder from getting through. Kozma didn't show them.

In one of the strangest moments you'll see on a baseball field, Pence's three-hit swing fooled Kozma, who broke the wrong way as the ball sliced and hopped its way into center field, giving Pence two RBIs in the third inning of NLCS Game 7 on Monday night. Outfielder Jon Jay misplayed the ball — as if it were still reacting by Pence's hard-to-believe swing — and a third run scored. Pence, after seeing a video replay via the Fox TV broadcast, said he caught a break. So to speak.

[Y! Sports Fan Shop: Buy San Francisco Giants championship merchandise]

"That's in super-slo-mo. I didn't even feel that," Pence said. "You couldn't see that with your eye. It broke my bat and I thought I had just stayed inside it. I guess fate just found a way."

The Giants have found their way to the World Series for the second time in three seasons, with Pence's funky hit the centerpiece in a five-run third inning that sparked them to a 9-0 victory. St. Louis had led the series 3-1 before crumbling. Kozma, a hero down the stretch of the regular season and in the NLDS against Washington, had an adventurous time in the field for the entire series against the Giants. This play didn't appear to be his fault, however.

"The read I got was that it was going to the hole," Kozma said.

The next thing you know, the ball's in center field.

These animations from MLB GIFs shows how the ball changed direction on Kozma, as if it were blown by an angel's kiss. This amazing animation shows Pence's bat breaking, yet keeping enough integrity to not only hit the ball three times, but hit it hard enough for a seeing-eye single. Like trying to play stickball with a used-up wrapping paper tube.

[Related: Giants cap classic comeback with 9-0 rout over Cardinals | Photos]

In case you're wondering about a batter being out because of a "double hit" (or in this case, a triple hit), Pence's hit is protected because the bat broke. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated filed this post, explaining:

Rule 6.05 (h) states that a batter is ruled out and the play is ruled dead with no advancement by the runners when the bat hits a ball a second time in fair territory. But the rule does include a comment specifically to address the circumstance of a broken bat causing a double hit. It states, "if a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called."

It's possible, even probable, that a triple-hit has happened before. It's just hard to pick up something like that without the neat slo-mo cameras. And, as Pence said, you couldn't tell with the naked eye when it happened.

But a ball changing direction like that? Kozma, who had rescued the Cardinals at shortstop after Rafael Furcal went down with a season-ending injury, definitely needed to have a Wizard-type moment to make a play on it. And not even Ozzie Smith with the Cardinals. Ozzie with the Padres.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

This would have been Kozma's only hope. Help, Mr. Wizard!

Love baseball? Enjoying the postseason?
Follow @AnswerDave@bigleaguestew@KevinKaduk on Twitter,
along with the BLS Facebook page!

Related MLB video from Yahoo! Sports:


Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Bears defense comes up big in 13-7 win over the Lions | Photos
Texans look like the team to beat in AFC
NBA creates 'Reggie Miller rule'
Y! News: Fact checking the final presidential debate

View Comments (212)
  • Is Oregon QB Vernon Adams ready for the spotlight?

    Is Oregon QB Vernon Adams ready for the spotlight?

    In perhaps the ultimate irony of college football's opening weekend, quarterback Vernon Adams makes his debut for Oregon against his former team, Eastern Washington. The No. 7 Ducks face the Big Sky's Eagles on Saturday in Autzen Stadium. Oregon … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Droga, Piatti, Camara return to bolster Impact in "must win" match with Fire

    Designated players Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti and fullback Hassoun Camara are all fit to play for the Montreal Impact, much to the relief of new coach Mauro Biello. All three are returning from injury and will be available as the … More »

    The Canadian Press - 21 minutes ago
  • Arrest made in drone crash at US Open

    Arrest made in drone crash at US Open

    A New York City teacher was arrested early Friday for allegedly crashing a drone into an empty section of seats at the U.S. Open, police said. A police department spokesman said Verley was a teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in … More »

    AP - Sports - 24 minutes ago
  • Jayhawks aim to open in style under new coach David Beaty

    Head coaching debuts at Kansas have rarely been kind. Along the way, newbies have been shut out twice, held to a single field goal twice more, and lost to North Dakota State, a powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision. In other words, … More »

    AP - Sports - 26 minutes ago
  • Petrino shrugs off past as Louisville faces No. 6 Auburn

    Petrino shrugs off past as Louisville faces No. 6 Auburn

    When Louisville opens the season against No. 6 Auburn at the Georgia Dome, Bobby Petrino will be reminded of two ugly episodes in his coaching career. Auburn again has the look of a championship contender, now that Gus Malzahn's dynamic offense is … More »

    AP - Sports - 26 minutes ago