Wrapping up an 8-2 win

Orioles anthem empty park.jpgA game was played inside an empty ballpark today with the world watching.

If it blinked, it missed everything.

The Orioles completed their 8-2 victory over the White Sox in 2 hours and 3 minutes. We learned that fans must be the problem with the pace of game.

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed two unearned runs and lowered his ERA to 1.59 in 22 2/3 innings. Manny Machado committed an error, but he also went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and three runs scored. Chris Davis homered onto Eutaw St.

Adam Jones extended his home hitting streak to 10 games (.459/.488/.892), going 17-for-37 with two doubles, a triple, four home runs, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. The Orioles improved to 21-1 when Caleb Joseph has an RBI.

It happened in a mostly quiet setting, though manager Buck Showalter pointed at reporters and said, "I could hear every word you all were saying up there."

"It was kind of like instructional league, Gulf Coast League, Arizona League. It was different," he said.

"I was real proud of our guys, their concentration level. We talked a little bit in the advance meeting today how every game is an opportunity to get closer to our goal regardless of circumstances. They really played well."

Showalter said the Orioles tested the bullpen phone before the game, and he could hear it ringing while sitting in the dugout.

"I think everybody was real careful about what they said from the dugout because everybody on the field could hear it, the umpires and them," Showalter said.

Showalter had another quip when asked whether he noticed the empty ballpark while focusing on the game.

"That would be pretty self-incriminating. I can't win answering that question," he said.

"It was still baseball between the lines. It's still that. There are so many things that cross your mind. Some of the altercations we've had early in the season, I was thinking how much of that is feeding off crowd reaction? Would we have had those same altercations if there wasn't? But thank goodness there are. And it reminded me a little bit of some of the pictures you saw during the strike year of empty stadiums. There's a lot of thoughts that go through your head.

"Coming up the runway and walking out, it's kind of like batting practice. When we hit, nobody's here yet. You realize that you're a few minutes away from playing a Major League Baseball game that's going to count. You tried to stay focused on the competition, us trying to get where we want to be at the end of the season. But I also talked to them about the people who are going to be sitting around our city watching this game. How many things have gone on around here normal here in the last few days in our society."

A group of fans gathered behind the bullpen area in left-center field and cheered the Orioles.

"They were heard," Showalter said, smiling.

Chris Davis swing empty.jpgDavis' home run ball was heard bouncing onto Eutaw St., but it wasn't accompanied by the usual eruption of crowd noise.

"I was just hoping it stayed fair and we got three ducats on the board," Showalter said. "You'd like to have that reaction at home. We're going into another situation where there probably won't be that many people there. You are your motivator. You've got to be self-motivated.

"We don't feel like we sacrificed anything in terms of baseball and the season. At the end of the day, we're both playing in the same environment and we're going to be playing in a similar environment tomorrow. They were asking me whether we were going to wear white pants or gray, etc. "

Asked what he took away from today's game, Showalter replied, "Everything in life, this too shall pass. Something's bad if you keep repeating it. We hope to take out of it a starting point for our city. The curfew put us in a challenge to play games at night. So we had to move the game to 2 o'clock and to Tampa.

"Maybe that's a little too self-absorbed to think that could happen. It's kind of like in '95, Seattle, turning point. This is a lot more serious to me than a baseball strike."

Showalter was asked whether he had a message for young black males in the city.

"You hear people try to weigh in on things that they really don't know anything about," he replied. "I tell guys all the time when they talk about ... I've never been black, OK? So I don't know, I can't put myself there. I've never faced the challenges that they face, so I understand the emotion, but I can't ...

"It's a pet peeve of mine when somebody says, 'Well, I know what they're feeling. Why don't they do this? Why doesn't somebody do that?' You have never been black, OK, so just slow down a little bit. I try not to get involved in something that I don't know about, but I do know that it's something that's very passionate, something that I am with my upbringing that it bothers me and it bothers everybody else. We've made quite a statement as a city, some good and some bad. Now, let's get on with taking the statements we've made a create a positive.

"We talk to players, and I want to be a rallying force for our city. It doesn't mean necessarily playing good baseball. It just means everything we can do... There are some things I don't want to be normal. You know what I mean? I don't. I want us to learn from some stuff that's gone on on both sides of it. I could talk about it for hours, but that's how I feel about it."

Jimenez is 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA in his last six starts at Camden Yards. He held the White Sox to two unearned runs and three hits over seven innings today, with one walk and six strikeouts. Kevin Gausman and Zach Britton each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the win.

"It's so hard," Showalter said. "Things like this, you get a few rainouts or whatever and your mechanics get tested. The guys that are together mechanically don't have as much of an adjustment.

"Gaus hadn't pitched in six days and I didn't want him to go eight because if they don't pitch today you have to add two to it. And Zach would have been five days. We still have I think three guys down there I wish I could have pitched today, but Ubaldo wouldn't let us. You're so careful about changing the karma of that game with the way he's pitching. Ubie looked like he's been in a five-man rotation for three or four months, so that bodes well for where he is mechanically."

White Sox infielder Micah Johnson seemed to be rattled by empty setting.

"It was weird," he 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.

"Being out there with nobody saying anything, it's definitely different. Baseball, especially at this level, two really competitive teams and no one can watch, it's not how it's supposed to be played. It's unfortunate.

"You heard some of the announcing when you got up there. That's how quiet it was. You hear literally everything.

"It's weird out there, especially on defense. You've got the glare from all the empty seats from the sun. It's something you don't ever have to deal with or prepare for. Hopefully that never happens again."

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