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Now that they’re eliminated, the Rays play well in victory over Marlins

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Now that they have run out of season, the Tampa Bay Rays have never looked better.

The Rays completed a sweep of three or more games for the first time since July and and won their first series since mid-August with a 4-1 victory over the Florida Marlins. Perhaps it is because the pressure of the wild-card chase is over, but the Rays have rarely looked better.

They had pitching. Jake Odorizzi went seven innings and gave up only four hits and only one unearned run in evening his record at 9-9. Brad Boxberger had his 41st save of the season.

They had hitting. The Rays clubbed 16 hits and had seven players with two hits or more. Evan Longoria was one of them, hitting a single and a home run.

They had defense. Kevin Kiermaier – who else? – threw a runner out at the plate to end the seventh. It was his 15th assist from the outfield. And backup shortstop Tim Beckham had a fine night in the field.

For the Rays, Kiermaier and James Loney each had three hits on the night. John Jaso, Steven Souza Jr., J.P. Arencibia and Longoria all had two.

For once, the Rays did not play a game decided by two runs or less. They’ve played 93 of those this year, the most in the American League since the White Sox played 95 in 2005.

Erasmo Ramirez pitches against Toronto’s Mark Beurhle tonight.

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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