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The Orioles closed the homestand with an 18-10 loss to the rival Red Sox, who completed the three-game sweep in front of a lot of their own fans at Camden Yards. If it's always darkest before the dawn, it should be all uphill from here.

No sense getting too exercised about the 18 runs. When Jason Berken lasted just 1 1/3 innings, you knew it was going to be a long afternoon. The O's did generate some excitement with that six-run rally in the third, but the Red Sox put the hammer down in the top of the fourth and it turned into a football score soon thereafter.

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Is this the beginning of another one of those end-of-the-year collapses? It sure looks that way, but I'm going to go counterintuitive on this. The fact that it is happening right now probably means that the club will show improvement over the final eight weeks of the season. I mean, how much worse can it get?

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