Hunter Pence's triple-hit sparks rules debate

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Hunter Pence's triple-hit sparks rules debate

The Giants' Game 7 victory over the Cardinals Monday at AT&T Park included a unique type of base hit, courtesy of Hunter Pence.

With the bases loaded, Pence swung at reliever Joe Kelly's first pitch and was jammed by the inside fastball. The force of the pitch cracked his bat but did not shatter it completely. As Pence completed his swing, the broken bat connected with the baseball two more times.

After the game, Lance Berkman made this observation:"It hit the bat three times; it was actually an illegal hit, but there's no way that you can expect the umpire to see that."

Even if the umpires did see that, Berkman's claim that the hit was "illegal" is not necessarily true.
Here are the official MLB rules, under section 6.05:

"A batter is out when..."(h) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a secondtime in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners mayadvance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rollsagainst the bat in fair territory and, in the umpires judgment,there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, theball is alive and in play;"That wording would seem to back up Berkman's statement, but there's a Rule 6.05(h) Comment that would seem to favor Pence and the Giants:"If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and ishit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and nointerference be called. If batted ball hits part of broken bat in foul territory, it is afoul ball."

What do you think of Berkman's comments? Do you think he was right and the hit was technically illegal or is he being a sore loser that's misinterpreting the rules?

Mariners designate former Giants pitcher for assignment

Mariners designate former Giants pitcher for assignment

CHICAGO -- Chris Heston was hopeful a move to a new organization could give his career a jolt. It hasn't worked out that way.

The former Giant was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the Mariners, who earlier acquired an outfielder from the Astros and needed the roster spot. Heston was traded to Seattle at the winter meetings for a player to be named later. The Giants have not yet picked that player off a list the teams agreed to.

Heston had a 3.95 ERA as a starter for the Giants in 2015 and threw a no-hitter at Citi Field, but he had trouble transitioning to relief the next season and dealt with an injury in Triple-A. Needing a roster spot in December, the Giants traded him.

Heston started Sunday for Seattle and gave up six earned runs in three innings. He allowed five earned in two innings in his previous appearance.

Giants notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

Giants notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik's leadoff homer in the series opener was a jolt, but the Giants are a much more dangerous offense when Denard Span is clicking atop the lineup, a spot ahead of Panik, and they hope to have that duo going Wednesday. Span got treatment all day Tuesday and said he could return to the lineup against Kyle Hendricks. 

"The swelling has gone down," Span said of his sprained left thumb. "The thing to do is to come in tomorrow, test it out, and if it feels good, you strap it on."

Span said an X-ray came back clean, but he didn't grab a bat Tuesday to test the thumb, focusing instead on treatment. He is batting .326 in nine games since coming off the DL. His replacement in center this week, Gorkys Hernandez, was 0-for-3 against Jon Lester, lowering his average to .160. 

--- The main story from the second game of this series: Johnny Cueto is now dealing with a second blister, and you can see the lack of movement on his pitches. The Cubs took advantage. Lester didn't need much help while throwing a 99-pitch complete game in two hours and five minutes. 

"He threw a lot more changeups than we've seen in the past," Buster Posey said. "He's shown it in the past but tonight he had good command of it. It wasn't just a show-me pitch. He used it a lot and threw it to lefties as well.

Posey twice grounded short rollers in front of the plate.

--- Posey's throw to nab Javy Baez on Monday was one of the best of the year, and on Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said, "If he's given a chance, I don't think there's anyone better in the game." That might be true, but Willson Contreras is threatening to get into the conversation. He threw an 85 mph rocket to second in the fifth to nab Eduardo Nuñez. If you're wondering how Lester -- who flat-out has the yips about throwing to first base and doesn't do it -- has allowed just six stolen bases this season, look no further than his young catcher. Long-term, Contreras is the guy I would expect to compete with Posey for Gold Gloves. 

"Nuney, with his speed, can go," Bochy said. "Their catcher made a great throw. Put it right on the money."

--- From before Tuesday's game, what do the relievers think of the new hidden bullpen at Wrigley? And if you missed the Power Rankings the other day, the records are outdated, but there are updates in here on old friends Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Tommy Joseph, Adalberto Mejia, Yusmeiro Petit and others. Petit in particular is incredible ... just keeps doing his thing. 

--- This play was made by the shortstop. That's good for the old UZR.