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The Strike Zone

Pence's rare double-hit allowed by rules

Hunter Pence Hunter Pence's bat shattered and hit the ball twice for a three-run double that blew open Game 7. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The third-inning double by Hunter Pence that broke open NLCS Game 7 was one of the rare double hits of a pitch that is allowable by rule.

A super slow motion camera by Fox that shoots at 5,000 frames per second captured Pence hitting the ball twice: the first time when a pitch from Joe Kelly of St. Louis broke his bat around the handle and then, after the ball was propelled forward slightly, a second time with the barrel. The double hit confused St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma, who initially broke to his right but watched the ball elude his grasp as it sailed to his left. Three runs scored on the play to put San Francisco ahead, 5-0.

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 batters 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.”

The double-hit double is a rarity that is sure to find a place in San Francisco baseball lore.

-- By Tom Verducci

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