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A pigeon gave its life to improve Dion James'...

NEW YORK -- A pigeon gave its life to improve Dion James' batting average in Sunday's game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets.

James led off the Atlanta third with what should have been a routine fly to left field.

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New York's Kevin McReynolds began drifting under the ball but stopped when it collided with the bird.

By the time McReynolds retrieved the ball, James was at second with double. Shortstop Rafael Santana collected the bird from the outfield grass and handed it to the ball girl. She deposited the animal under the stands.

James scored one batter later when Dale Murphy hit his first home run of the season.

The incident was reminiscent of a 1983 game in Toronto when Dave Winfield of the New York Yankees killed a seagull while warming up in the outfield. He was charged with 'causing unnecessary suffering' to an animal. The charges were later dropped.

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