BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox played the first game in major league history that was not open to the public on Wednesday. Cheering, screaming and yelling were strangely absent on a sunny spring afternoon, but the game went on in an eerily quiet Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Just a few miles from where rioters trashed, burned and looted only two nights before, the Orioles and White Sox played a private baseball game. Chris Davis hit a three-run homer in the first inning and starter Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven strong innings as the Orioles posted an 8-2 victory over the White Sox.
Much remained the same at Oriole Park on this unusual day. The music played, the scoreboard and videos kept working, but the fans were absent. A small group of Orioles faithful kept looking in and cheering behind the closed gates in left-center field, especially when the Orioles pounded out one of their 10 hits.
Sounds from the field also found their way to the press box. Screams of “back, back” on a deep fly ball or “no, no, no” when a player was considering taking an extra base, or “right there” from an umpire on a tag play were easy to hear.
So were the sirens from nearby or the helicopters that flew overhead from time to time.
The troubles in the streets still are simmering, and players talked before the game about their concerns for the difficult situation. In the end, though, the Orioles and White Sox needed to play a baseball game — one where Baltimore quickly took command and needed only two hours and three minutes to finish the job.
The Orioles (10-10), who have now won three straight after a five-game losing streak, quickly removed most of the suspense in the game, scoring the first-inning runs off White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija (1-2). They loaded the bases with no outs before center fielder Adam Jones hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 1-0 lead.
Davis, the first baseman, followed with his three-run homer to right. Two batters later, shortstop Everth Cabrera sliced an RBI double to left before catcher Caleb Joseph made it 6-0 with his bloop single to right off second baseman Micah Johnson’s glove.
Joseph added an RBI single in the third to make it 7-0.
Chicago (8-10) got two unearned runs in the fifth despite having only one infield hit. One run scored on third baseman Manny Machado’s throwing error, the other on catcher Geovany Soto’s groundout that cut Baltimore’s lead to 7-2.
Machado answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer to left center for an 8-2 lead. He finished the day 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI thanks to the home run, a double and a single.
The early lead made life easier for Jimenez (2-1), who breezed through seven innings. He gave up two runs, both unearned, and three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander stayed in command the entire time.
Despite the early problems, Samardzija still lasted five innings. The right-hander came into the game with a scoreless streak of 10 innings that was quickly gone as he allowed eight runs overall.