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Orioles' team plane diverted to Jacksonville because of smoke in forward galley

The airplane taking the Baltimore Orioles to St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday night had its flight diverted to Jacksonville because of smoke in the forward galley.

Michael Stewart, spokesman for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, told The Associated Press that the plane was inspected and deemed OK to fly. The Orioles resumed their trip on the same aircraft, leaving Jacksonville International Airport at 10:15 p.m.

Stewart said the plane was a Delta charter with more than 90 people aboard.

Baltimore, tied with New York for first place in the AL East, opens a series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

In a statement, the Orioles said, "Due to a minor incident in the galley, the Orioles' charter made an unscheduled landing in Jacksonville, Florida en route to St. Petersburg tonight. After the plane was inspected, all crew and passengers re-boarded and flew to St. Petersburg without further incident. This unscheduled landing was done with an abundance of caution and at no time was anyone on the flight in danger."

After the team touched down in St. Petersburg, manager Buck Showalter said during a telephone conference call, "We were in good hands. It was just a precautionary thing just to be on the safe side."

He added, "We had a little something heat up on the plane, and the professionals didn't like what was going on. So just to check it out and be on the safe side, we stopped in Jacksonville. We fixed whatever the problem was, got back on the plane and took off.

"It gave everyone a chance to watch some of the Eagles (football) game, so it worked out good."

The Orioles beat Boston 6-3 in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. Baltimore later clinched a playoff spot when the Los Angeles Angels lost at Texas in the second game of a doubleheader.

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AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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