Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/10/12
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The Tampa Bay Rays have been pitching well all season, but they are doing even better now that it matters most.

In taking two of three from the New York Yankees and then two of three from the Texas Rangers, the Rays pitched to a 2.21 ERA, allowing only 14 earned runs. They limited the opponents to a .169 average.

"We're just trying to keep that momentum going, trying to feed off each other," said right-hander James Shields, who threw a two-hit shutout Sunday against Texas. "That's what we're here to do, to pitch well and win ballgames."

Manager Joe Maddon is confident the starting staff can maintain its pace and that the Rays will keep playing good defense behind the pitchers. To him, the question over the final three weeks is the offense.

"We've played great defense and we've pitched so well," Maddon said. "If we could just somehow turn up that offensive dial just a click more on a consistent basis ..."

In their past 18 games, the Rays are averaging 3.8 runs, down from their season average of 4.2.

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