The Cleveland Indians scored in the 10th inning to defeat reliever Kyle Farnsworth and the Royals, 4-3, as the game-ending hit struck a seagull, changing the ball's direction and preventing a play at the plate.
It was a strange and unhappy ending to the Royals' road trip, a 2-7 trudge against Tampa Bay, Toronto and Cleveland.
In the Indians' 10th, Farnsworth gave up a single to Mark DeRosa, walked Victor Martinez and gave up a single through the middle to Shin-Soo Choo. The ball struck a seagull in center field and veered away from Coco Crisp, rolling toward the wall as DeRosa scored the game-ending run.
"The ball was hit on the ground. It was sharply hit. I had a chance to make a play on it. But from what I saw, it hit a bird," Crisp said. "I could be mistaken."
Yeah, it was hard to believe your eyes, but hit the bird it did, and the game was over. The ball, the umpires later confirmed, remained in play despite the feathery interference. The bird wobbled around a bit, then flew away as the Indians celebrated the victory.
The run ended Farnsworth's streak of 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Tough outing.
"I've had better," he said.
"You get 3-2 on two guys and you try to be aggressive and put 'em away and see what happens."
The loss negated a fine pitching performance by Zack Greinke, who pitched seven strong innings before running into eight-inning trouble.
With one out, the pesky DeRosa (on base five times) singled and Martinez walked. That prompted manager Trey Hillman to excuse Greinke, who was ahead, 3-1. And Greinke wasn't satisfied with himself, despite doing well for seven inning.
"But you've got to finish," Greinke said. "DeRosa was doing a good job of hitting. He was doing it all day long. DeRosa hit a good fastball, and I made bad pitches to Victor -- let him get on free, and it cost us."
John Bale relieved Greinke and got Choo to ground to first baseman Billy Butler, who threw for a force out at second base. However, shortstop Tony Pena's return throw was low, and the ball got away from Bale covering first base, allowing DeRosa to score. Second baseman Alberto Callaspo then made a poor throw home and Choo took second. Two errors were charged on the play.
Joakim Soria relieved Bale and immediately gave up a high drive by Jhonny Peralta that hit high off the left-field wall for a double to score Choo for a 3-3 tie.
"I felt good. My arm feels great," Soria said. "Just one pitch. I hung one pitch, and that was it. Slider -- and it was up."
This was Soria's third appearance since coming off the disabled list, and it marked his first blown save this season. He did return to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.
"I feel terrible right now. When you've got a guy like Zack throwing 7 1/3 really good, it's really hard," Soria said.
Greinke, after a sensational beginning to his season, now has two no-decisions and a loss in his past three starts. But after being hit hard for the first time this season at Toronto, he snapped back nicely.
He made the Indians look docile enough, giving up just five hits and one run through the seventh. Luis Valbuena's double and Martinez's single produced a run in the third.
The Royals gave Greinke a 2-1 lead in the fifth against left-hander Jeremy Sowers. Pena singled and scored on David DeJesus' double to deep right-center field. After Crisp singled, DeJesus scored on Butler's groundout.
Miguel Olivo added a solo home run in the Royals' eighth, clubbing a 1-1 pitch from Greg Aquino over the left-field wall. It was his eighth homer and marked the third straight game he went deep.
But the late letdown left Hillman contemplating another loss that dropped his club back into last place after winning just one of three at Progressive Field.
"If we don't make the errors the first day and today, we should sweep this series as long as we command the baseball out of the bullpen," Hillman said. "We just didn't get it done."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.