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Rangers sweep Rays as Drew Smyly struggles in his return

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The Tampa Bay Rays are in a quandry with their starting rotation.

Do they slow down to allow their starters to catch up, or do they press toward the playoffs?

Increasingly, that seems to be the choice for the Rays, who grew weary of waiting for Matt Moore earlier and now might face a similar decision with Drew Smyly, who doesn’t appear to be what they were when they were injured.

Smyly started Sunday for the first time in 102 days, and the return was not the conquering kind. Smyly lasted only four innings and gave up five earned runs in a 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. Moore was 1-3 with an 8.78 ERA before being sent down.

Adrian Beltre hit a go-ahead home run in the third inning, and Ryan Strausborger hit another an inning later. The Rays managed 12 hits off Texas starter Yovani Gallardo, but they stranded nine baserunners. Kevin Kiermaier had three hits for the Rays.

The Rays, swept by the Rangers, fell to a game under .500 and into fifth place in the wild-card race.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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