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Athletics Defeat Rays, Secure Series Win Behind Josh Willingham 10th Inning Home Run

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Josh Willingham launched a 3-2 fastball over the left field fence in the 10th inning to lift the Oakland Athletics over the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, in the rubber match of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer and Ryan Sweeney drove in a run for the A’s, who won the last two games of the series after dropping four in a row. Fautino De Los Santos (1-0) earned his first MLB win after tossing a scoreless ninth and Andrew Bailey picked up his 13th save of the season after stranding two runners in the 10th to secure the win.

Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman both hit solo homers and Desmond Jennings had three hits and an RBI for the Rays, who lost for the third time in six tries. Jake McGee (0-1) took the loss — the first of his career — after surrendering the deciding home run in the 10th. David Price started the game for Tampa Bay but lasted just 4 2/3 innings after giving up four runs on seven hits.

The A’s scored three in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Jemile Weeks tripled to left-center before Matsui homered to right. David DeJesus followed with a single then advanced to second and third following two straight walks. DeJesus then scored when J.P. Howell, who replaced Price one hitter earlier, threw a wild pitch.

Longoria tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer, clobbering a 1-0 fastball deep into the stands in left for his 16th home run of the season. Johnny Damon almost won the game for the Rays in the ninth, driving a ball deep into right, but DeJesus caught it at the wall to end the frame.

Earlier, Tampa took a 1-0 lead in the third. Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, stole second and moved to third on a Jennings bunt single. Damon followed with a groundout, but Rodriguez was able to score on the fielder’s choice.

But Oakland came back in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. DeJesus led off with a ground-rule double then scored when Sweeney singled to left. The Rays added two more in the fourth to go up 3-1. Kotchman hit a leadoff homer before Matt Joyce scored on a Jennings single past a diving Eric Sogard at short. Trevor Cahill started for the A’s and gave up three runs on six hits.

Matsui extended his hitting streak to 15 games…Cahill’s two walks gave him an American League-high 66. He is also tied with Colorado’s Jhoulys Chacin for the most in the majors…The Rays placed pitcher Alex Cobb on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Cesar Ramos from Triple-A Durham…Tampa Bay fell to 16-15 in one-run games this season.