White Sox lose to Orioles 8-2 at empty Camden Yards
Baltimore (AP) — White Sox manager Robin Ventura was ready to put an all-around strange day at Camden Yards quickly behind him.
In what was believed to be the first major league 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 Chicago 8-2.
The gates to the ballpark were locked out 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.
“It was just a surreal environment,” Ventura said. “I really don’t think we want to play in another one like this. I don’t think they do either.”
In a crisp 2 hours, 3 minutes, Baltimore won its third straight since snapping a five-game losing streak.
“A game with no fans, but they were out at the hotel,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. “You could see on the balcony, you could hear them outside the gates. A lot of people were telling me to look up the check-ins on Facebook. So there were people around supporting, just not inside the stadium. But there was still some support.”
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. Manny Machado hit his fourth home run among his three hits and Caleb Joseph had a pair of RBIs.
“It was kind of like instructional league, Gulf Coast League, Arizona League,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the lack of fans.
White Sox right-hander 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.
The Orioles batted around against Samardzija in the first. With the bases loaded, Adam Jones hit a sacrifice fly and Davis followed with a three-run homer that landed on a nearly empty Eutaw Street. A double by Everth Cabrera and a single by Joseph rounded out the scoring.
Samardzija continued to labor, allowing another RBI single to Joseph in the third.
“It had a little spring training feel to it,” Samardzija said about the atmosphere. “It was a good lineup. They jumped on me in the first and that was that.”
Machado’s fifth error in the past eight games on a grounder by Alexei Ramirez gave Chicago its first run in the fifth. A ground-out by Geovany Soto later that inning pulled them to 7-2. Machado made up for his mistake with a solo homer that inning.
“It was weird,” White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson said. “You can’t compare it to anything. It was definitely weird. It was quiet, there’s nothing going on. You hear everything. The atmosphere, it’s just not how baseball is (supposed) to be played.”
The White Sox were playing just their third game in six days. It was also their first game outside the American League Central.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder strain) felt much better after receiving a cortisone shot last week and will travel with the team to Tampa Bay over the weekend. He hopes to begin a rehab assignment next week.
White Sox: Chris Sale, who appealed his five-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the Royals, will look to pick up his third win four starts on Thursday against Minnesota.
Orioles: Chris Tillman (2-2, 7.58 ERA) will open the series Friday against the Rays, which has been moved to Tropicana Field from Baltimore. The Orioles, though, will be the home team.