The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series, but they really broke the game open early thanks to a strange play in the third. Right fielder Hunter Pence hit a ball that twisted and turned so much it was befitting of the quirky player he is.
Pence swung at the first pitch from reliever Joe Kelly with the bases loaded and broke his bat on a 94mph fastball. After the initial contact, FOX’s 3000 frames-per-second camera showed that the ball slid down his bat where he hit it a second time, and it slid down further where he hit it a third time. By that point, the ball was slapped away with so much spin, it started tailing and curved away from Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma.
The ball went into the gap and allowed two runners to score. Buster Posey scored from first after Jon Jay was unable to pick the ball up cleanly in the outfield, giving the Giants a 5-0 lead. They scored two more to go up 7-0 after three innings.
Was Giants manager Bruce Bochy surprised with the bizarre play?
“Only Hunter, maybe Pablo [Sandoval] could do that too, but I think only Hunter has the ability to hit a ball like that.
“He’s unique in his style of hitting. I don’t know a shortstop that would have made that play. We’ll take it. Breaks help you win games like this,” said Bochy.
And what did Pence think of the play?
“It was weird.”
Yes it was.