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

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Gruden faces former pupil when Redskins play Dalton, Bengals

      Now he needs to beat him in a game critical for both teams' playoff chances when the Bengals 'host' the Redskins at Wembley Stadium in London at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Gruden, who served the Bengals' offensive coordinator for three seasons (2011-13) … More »

      AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
    • ACC looks to keep strong 2-year NCAA run going in 2017

      ACC looks to keep strong 2-year NCAA run going in 2017

      The trick now is to keep that momentum going for the league that considers itself college basketball's best. The ACC also wants to increase its number of NCAA Tournament bids toward a still-unreached target of 10 invitations. The ACC's series of … More »

      AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
    • The Latest: Commissioner figures 4 hours before heavier rain

      The Latest: Commissioner figures 4 hours before heavier rain

      Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred anticipates the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have about four hours to get in Game 2 of the World Series. ''If it's light and ... we don't think it's going to get any heavier, I think we'd be apt to play in … More »

      AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
    • Cardinals, Panthers meet again under different circumstances

      "I feel good about us coming into this stretch," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. The Panthers (1-5), who are coming off an open date on their schedule, haven't won since the second week of the season. Arizona (3-3-1) is trying to regroup after … More »

      AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
    • Earthquake temporarily halts Italian league match

      A top-level soccer match between Pescara and Atalanta was temporarily halted when a second earthquake in the space of two hours struck central Italy on Wednesday, sparking terror among the fans. There had been an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 … More »

      AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago