When Hunter Pence, the most dangerous .125 hitter in baseball, batted in the third inning Monday night with the bases loaded and nobody out, the source of his hitting woes became apparent.

Termites.

How else to account for Pence's expensive bat exploding into kindling on impact with Joe Kelly's pitch?

They were lucky termites, apparently. The TV slo-mo replay showed that the biggest hunk of wood, most of the barrel, made a second and third contact with the ball.

It was as if the bat was chasing the ball down the street, beating it to death.

Multiple contact with one swing, that's a two-stroke penalty in golf, but in baseball it's a three-run bonus.

Don't try this at home, kids.

The weird contact imparted some pool-hall spin to the ball, deking Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who started to his right and saw the ball veer to his left and into the outfield, where it was misplayed by center fielder Jon Jay.

Two runs scored on the hit, a third on the error, plumping the Giants' lead to 5-0.

It was a clear case of assault with a dead weapon.