BALTIMORE – In what is thought to be the first major league baseball game played without fans in attendance, Chris Davis hit a three-run homer in a six-run first inning Wednesday and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2.
The gates at Camden Yards were locked because of concern for fan safety following recent rioting in Baltimore after a 25-year-old black man died in police custody. The unusual decision to play the game was made because it was the best time to fill out the schedule for both teams.
Despite the seriousness of why the game was closed to the public, players and announcers had some fun.
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Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph waved to empty seats and signed autographs for imaginary fans. Other players tossed foul balls into the stands just like any other game. And the announcers had fun too, at one point quietly slipping into their Masters Golf Tournament announcing voices.
Both teams lined up for the national anthem, music was piped in between innings and the seventh inning streak was noted with the traditional John Denver song.
In a crisp 2 hours, 3 minutes, Baltimore won its third straight since snapping a five-game losing streak.
Ubaldo Jimenez (2-1) continued his rebound from last season’s struggles, allowing two runs – one earned – on three hits with six strikeouts and just one walk over seven innings for the Orioles. Manny Machado hit his fourth home run among his three hits and Caleb Joseph had two RBIs.
Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (1-2) allowed a season-high eight runs – seven earned – on 10 hits, including two homers, over just five innings. Entering the game, he had not allowed a run over his previous 10 innings.
Keith Robison, The Star