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Baltimore back in Camden Yard for first time since riots – and win

Orioles fans return to Camden Yards for the first game in Baltimore since April 25. (Associated Press)
Orioles fans return to Camden Yards for the first game in Baltimore since April 25. (Associated Press)

For their first game in front of fans at Camden Yard in two weeks, the Orioles took the field wearing specially-made white home jerseys that said “Baltimore” across the chest, a fitting tribute to their home city after a difficult time.

The Baltimore riots forced the Orioles to postpone two home games, play another behind locked gates and relocate three more to Florida. But on Monday night, baseball returned to Baltimore as the Orioles played the Toronto Blue Jayes to open a nine-game, 11-day homestand.

Coming off a weeklong trip to New York during which the club lost five of six games, returning to Camden Yards – and some sense of normalcy – was just what the Orioles needed.

They hit three home runs and Orioles pitchers struck out a season-high 13 batters in a 5-2 win. It was their fourth straight win at Camden Yards, dating back to April 25.

A grassroots campaign named Monday night “ReOpening Day” and aimed to fill Camden Yards as baseball returned. Even though the ballpark was less than half full – the announced attendance was 20,968 – there was an unmistakable buzz in the air.

A Baltimore City flag hung from the facade of the upper deck. Among the signs in the lower bowl was one that said “Believe in Baltimore.”

Bleacher bums back

No more silent nights in the outfield at Wrigley Field. The bleachers are open again.

The Chicago Cubs let fans into the bleachers in left and center field for the game against the New York Mets. A smaller videoboard in right also was up and running for the opener of a seven-game homestand.

The outfield seating had been closed to the public while work continued on renovations for the cozy neighborhood ballpark. Another section in right should be finished this summer after bad weather and other issues delayed construction in the offseason.

Among the first people to make it to their new seats was long-time Cubs fan Christopher Sorlie, who sprinted to his spot, yelling the whole way. He quickly set up his area in the front row and greeted familiar faces as they settled in behind him.

“You just feel the energy in the crowd today — it’s unbelievable,” Sorlie said. “There has still been a buzz in the ballpark because it’s the Cubs, but it’s just weird because when you look out (in the bleachers), you don’t see anything.”

Clearing the bases

Texas has sent struggling second baseman Rougned Odor, a former Spokane Indian, back to the minor leagues. Odor hit .144 in 29 games and struck out 25 times in 90 at-bats. … New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, his first since going on the 15-day disabled list last month because of a right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis. … Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has rejoined the team after three days away on the bereavement/family emergency list.

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