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Rays finish first half by sweeping the Astros behind bullpen

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Who says a team has to hit the baseball to win?

The Tampa Bay Rays closed out the first half of their season Sunday afternoon by sweeping the Houston Astros with a 4-3 victory. That left the Rays one game over .500 after 91 games, three games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East.

The truth be told, the Rays didn’t exactly bludgeon the Astros in the series. They won with four hits, seven hits and five hits in the three games. However, Houston was able to get only four runs and 15 hits .

If there was a common theme, it was that the Rays got pretty good starting pitching and lights-out relief pitching. All-star Brad Boxberger appeared in three games, got three saves and did not give up a hit. Kevin Jepson appeared in all three games without giving up a hit.

For the Rays, scratching for hits was enough. For instance, the Rays went ahead 4-3 on John Jaso’s bases-loaded walk and Grady Sizemore’s groundout.

Matt Moore got his first victory since having Tommy John surgery 14 months ago for the Rays.

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

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