The Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-2, in Major League Baseball's first closed-door regular season game on April 29. The Orioles postponed their games against the White Sox on Monday and Tuesday due to the ongoing Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-2, in Major League Baseball's first closed-door regular season game on April 29.
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According to Brittany Ghiroli and Todd Karpovich of MLB.com, the Orioles capitalized on a six-run first inning which included a three-run home run from Chris Davis to pull away from the White Sox.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez finished with six strikeouts and allowed just three hits over seven innings. His counterpart, White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija, allowed eight runs on 10 hits to go along with one walk in just five innings of work, per MLB.com.
He loaded the bases with no outs in the first innning, allowing Baltimore to establish the early big lead, per MLB.com.
Chicago couldn't capitalize on its history of success against Jimenez, who entered the game with a 5.01 ERA his last 10 starts against the White Sox. Chicago scored on an error by third baseman Manny Machado in the fifth inning and then added another run courtesy of an Alexei Ramirez grondout, per Ghiroli and Karpovich.
However, that's all the White Sox could muster on this night.
Machado went 3-for-4 with three RBIs while catcher Caleb Joseph finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Davis' three-run shot completed the scoring for the Orioles, per MLB.com.
It was so quiet inside the stadium that Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu could be heard saying "I got it!" when he went after a popup in the third inning. Orioles first-base coach Wayne Kirby could also be heard saying "Run it out!" from the dugout, per The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly.
Despite an empty Camden Yards, Ghrioli and Karpovich say several fans still watched the game "from outside the gates of Camden Street and nearby hotel balconies."
MLB.com's Paul Hagen says the league decided to hold Wednesday's game between the Orioles and White Sox at Camden Yards with no fans in attendance to allow the stadium to deploy security to other areas in the city of Baltimore, which has been plagued by riots triggered by the death of Freddie Gray.
Orioles broadcaster kicked off Wednesday night's telecast by saying, "This is no way a normal day at the ballpark. The lifeblood of Major League Baseball, its fans, will be missing," per Hagen.
Camden Yards' main concourse, where all of the stadium's concession stands are, was also off limits to the public. Hagen adds Dempsey's restaurant and other businesses along Eutaw Street which normally operate on game days were also shut down.
However, popular watering holes located across the street such as Pickles and Sliders were open. Pickles, in particular, aired the game to a small weekday crowd, per MLB.com.
Orioles closer Zach Britton told Connolly before the opening pitch the players understand the situation:
"It's just going to be different. It's just unfortunate this is the way it's got to be, but there are more important things going on outside in the city that needed the attention of the law enforcement. We understand that."
Major League Baseball historian John Thorn told ABC News on Wednesday a game played with no crowd in attendance has never happened in league history. Public unrest in Detroit in 1967, Baltimore in 1968 and Los Angeles in 1992 as well as natural disasters such as California earthquakes and 9/11 attacks forced MLB to reschedule the concerned games for a later date.
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MLB didn't postpone the Orioles-White Sox game on Wednesday, which Thorn believes was brought about by possible scheduling conflicts, per ABC News:
"It's a very tight scheduile and...when you know you're going to have other conflicts like weather and unavoidable situations come up, you try to avoid it.
"In recent memory there was a game in 1966 at Yankee Stadium where 413 fans showed up. It was just a really lousy team. So it is unusual to play before a very sparse crowd, but to play before no crowd is truly unprecedented."
Peaceful protests in Baltimore turned violent early this week after Gray's funeral. Gray was a 25-year-old African-American who died in police custody on April 12 after he was arrested and then suffered a severe spinal cord injury, per CNN.
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