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Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Fan faith grows as Orioles hold first place

Fan faith grows as Orioles hold first place

Two years ago, when the Orioles unleashed the region's pent-up baseball passion with their first playoff run in years, they did it by walking baseball's version of a tightrope.

They played a lot of nail-biters — winning 29 games by just one run. They snatched 16 of 18 in extra innings. They didn't nab a wild-card playoff spot until the last week of the season.

This year has been a steadier march. These O's have seen no major streaks, good or bad, but they've won six or so games out of every 10, climbing to the top of the American League East, where they've been since early July.

The O's are in first place, eight games ahead of the Yankees with 28 games to go, and...