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Defending champions at top of baseball standing entering All-Star break

After winning their first South Korean baseball title in 14 years last year, the Doosan Bears have picked up right where they left off.

The Bears have wrapped up the first half in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season in first place with 55 wins, 27 losses and one tie. They dropped their final two games before the All-Star break but they still have a 4.5-game lead over the NC Dinos.

The Bears are the only KBO team with at least 50 wins. In three of the past four seasons, the team that reached the 50-win plateau first went on to win the championship Korean Series.

They have been the undisputed best team in the league, from top to bottom, all season. They even got a no-hitter from starter Michael Bowden last month. Their stars are at or near the top in all major offensive and pitching categories.

And they've done it without All-Star left fielder Kim Hyun-soo, who signed with the Baltimore Orioles in December.

It was the Dinos that handed these Bears the two straight defeats, and they're at 47-28-2. They enjoyed winning streaks of eight games and 15 games earlier in the season, but in a testament to the Bears' consistent excellence, the Dinos never got closer than 3.5 games of first place during their 15-game run. (Yonhap)