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Rays combine pitching, hitting to dismantle Blue Jays

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The Tampa Bay Rays may have bottomed out, but there are nights when they hardly look like it.

The Rays, who entered the game as the American League’s last-place team, took it out on the Toronto Blue Jays  in a 9-2 victory. The win, coupled with Minnesota’s loss to Houston, allowed the Rays to move back to next-to-last.

Tampa Bay had one of its better nights. Starting pitcher Drew Smyly threw his fourth straight quality start for the win, giving up only two runs in six innings.

But the Rays’ pitching has been good lately. Since the all-star break, the Rays’ starters are leading the majors with a 2.46 ERA and are second in strikeouts.

Ah, but the hitting was something unusual. The Rays had 14 hits, including three each by Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria. Kevin Kiermaier, Brad Miller, Steven Souza and Luke Maile all had two.

“We know we’re capable of more offensively,” said manager Kevin Cash. “More with runners on base.”

The Rays send Blake Snell to the mound tonight against 15-game winner J.A. Happ.

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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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