ST. LOUIS Baseball's higher forces have a wicked sense of humor. How else to explain shortstop Pete Kozma, the St. Louis Cardinals' King Clutch this October, becoming the victim of a funhouse sequence in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series?
Let's rewind to Monday night: In the bottom of the third inning, the San Francisco Giants led 2-0. Bases were loaded after Marco Scutaro singled to right field, Pablo Sandoval doubled to left and Buster Posey walked. Then Hunter Pence's bat split after a lightning strike of a 95-mph fastball from Joe Kelly cracked it, causing the shattered wood to knock the ball not once, not twice, but three times before skirting past a confused Kozma.
Three runs scored.
Takes two and three: Different batters that inning but the same slip on a bar of soap. Kozma snagged a grounder from Brandon Crawford but was late zinging the ball to Yadier Molina, allowing Pence to trot home. Score: 6-0.
Later, Kozma cupped a grounder from Angel Pagan bu...