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Seattle sweep sullies otherwise strong first half for Orioles

Perhaps lost in the ignominy of a four-game sweep at the hands of a Seattle Mariners, who were a .500 ballclub four games ago, is the rosy outlook the Orioles carried out of the final game of the first half of their season.

Halfway through a 162-game season where they were predicted to finish in last place, comfortably below .500, the Orioles are 47-34, three games up in a topsy-turvy American League East with a week left before the All-Star break.

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"Very happy, very pleased," outfielder Mark Trumbo, who hit his league-leading 24th home run, said Sunday. "You have to look at the big picture and can't get too caught up in day-to-day and week-to-week. If you are to look at the overall picture, we've played excellent baseball. Really proud of the way guys have gone about it, day in and day out. These last four are not ideal, but overall, we've done great."

His home run pace is one of several reasons the Orioles are thriving this year. He was a relative question mark entering the season, but was quietly confident that with regular at-bats he'd be a run-producer. His 62 RBIs lead the team. Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is right behind Trumbo with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs.

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The Orioles' pair of young infield stars, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, is also producing. Schoop is batting .301 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs, Machado .329 with 18 home runs and 50 runs batted in.

Center fielder Adam Jones has found a home in the leadoff spot and raised his line to .261/.310/.455 while there, and the remaining parts have been adequately played by outfielders Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard, plus designated hitter Pedro Alvarez.

As a team, the Orioles' .801 OPS is second only to the rival Boston Red Sox. Their 128 home runs are most in baseball.

There's the omnipresent concern about the starting rotation, and growing ones about the bullpen the longer it has to survive without right-hander Darren O'Day, but both have been adequate enough to win on more nights than they haven't.

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No one was particularly pleased to be swept out of Seattle without a win to show for it, but just as the Orioles didn't let the seven-game winning streak that preceded their whimper here boost their egos, the stretch that sullied the official end of their first half won't do the opposite.

"We don't live in that world," manager Buck Showalter said.

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