SEATTLE — To even be in this conversation is something of a feat for Ryan O’Hearn — to be considered an All-Star starting snub when a year and a half ago he was unwanted by the Kansas City Royals.

He was traded for cash to the Orioles, and Baltimore promptly designated O’Hearn for assignment two days later. To that point, O’Hearn was mainly a pinch hitter. He infrequently played in Kansas City and was added to the Orioles’ spring training invite list as a depth first base option.

And yet here he is, batting cleanup for Baltimore during its 4-1 win Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners a little over a year later, having just learned that his bid for an All-Star starting place came up short. O’Hearn had been a finalist but missed out in the second phase of fan voting to the Houston Astros’ Yordan Álvarez at designated hitter.

O’Hearn’s answer to a second-place finish — and, therefore, an uncertain All-Star future — came via two loud swings that helped push Baltimore to a season-high two-game lead in the American League East.

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“He’s been doing this all year for us — hits after hits in big spots,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “You know, Logan Gilbert is really, really good. For him to drive the ball in left-center and jump on a homer there, where we’d be without him — he’s been unbelievable for us.”

The first knock came in the third inning, when two walks from Gilbert brought O’Hearn to the plate in a position to do damage. With two outs, O’Hearn lashed a double into the left-center field gap that Julio Rodríguez couldn’t reel in.

“I don’t know how he almost got there,” O’Hearn said. “He [Rodríguez] started in the right-center gap, but I’m glad he didn’t come up with it and [we] put some runs on the board.”

And in the fifth O’Hearn took Gilbert’s cutter on the inside half of the plate deep for a solo homer. The blast gave O’Hearn 11 long balls this season — only three fewer than he posted in 2023, when he broke out for the best season of his career. From a depth addition in the offseason to a regular, O’Hearn earned a $3.5 million deal this season.

O’Hearn earned his All-Star consideration on the back of June, during which he hit .321 with an .853 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. His power was down that month — he recorded only seven extra-base hits — but O’Hearn displayed the bat-to-ball skills that have led him into a nearly everyday role for Baltimore.

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He was joined in run production Wednesday by Ryan Mountcastle in the third inning. Mountcastle, another All-Star finalist who fell short, singled to score O’Hearn. That was enough offense to carry a pitching staff that has largely mastered a lowly Mariners lineup.

“It’s definitely a team lineup. It’s not like we’ve got one or two guys that drive in all the runs,” O’Hearn said. “It just speaks to the depth and speaks to the team approach on offense. When you have that many good hitters, guys are always on base and guys are going to put up numbers, so we just kind of lean on each other when guys are on base and good things happen.”

Right-hander Dean Kremer, in his return from a right triceps strain, spun five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. Kremer’s splitter was especially effective, and he used it 31% of the time. On 16 swings, he forced whiffs on seven.

Earlier this year, Kremer used his splitter 12.6% of the time. The rise in usage may have been a matchup-based adjustment, but its improvement is a positive.

“It was good tonight,” Kremer said. “I wouldn’t say it was something I necessarily hammered while I was on rehab, but had a good feel for it today. Played well.”

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Dean Kremer pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Behind Kremer, left-hander Keegan Akin allowed a solo homer to Cal Raleigh for the lone Seattle breakthrough. Right-hander Craig Kimbrel then worked a clean ninth inning, avoiding the pressure of Tuesday’s save, when he hit two batters to bring the winning run to the plate. With the save, Kimbrel passed Francisco Rodriguez for fourth place on the career list with 438.

“I got to share a bullpen with Francisco in the 2014 All-Star Game,” Kimbrel said. “Just getting able to watch him and how he went about his business, he’s very routine based, went out there and got guys out. ... To surpass a guy you got to spend time with and enjoyed their craft and what they did, it’s really cool.”

Kimbrel had a larger lead to work with Wednesday, and it was much to do with O’Hearn.

O’Hearn’s performance wasn’t in response to the All-Star voting, which he lost by four percentage points. It’s largely what he’s done all season — it’s why he was an All-Star finalist in the first place. And, with another outing in which he played hero, perhaps he bolsters his chance to make the Midsummer Classic as a reserve.

“This sounds cliché, but I’m locked in on the O’s winning the East right now,” O’Hearn said. “If I get to go to the All-Star Game, that would be a dream come true. It would be awesome. Either way, I’m just grateful for the love and the support that people voted for me. If it happens, it happens. If not, it’s all good.”