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A’s Bullpen Melts Down In Loss To Rays

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Matt Joyce #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second as Jemile Weeks #19 of the Oakland Athletics applies the tag at O.co Coliseum on July 28, 2011 in Oakland. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Matt Joyce #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second as Jemile Weeks #19 of the Oakland Athletics applies the tag at O.co Coliseum on July 28, 2011 in Oakland. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Desmond Jennings hit his first career home run and later added a two-run double in a seven-run seventh inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied from five runs down to stun the Oakland Athletics 10-8 Thursday.

B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria also homered, helping make a winner out of right-hander Wade Davis (8-7), who struggled early before settling down to retire 17 straight batters. Upton, the subject of ongoing trade rumors, hit his team-leading 16th home run after sitting out one game.

Conor Jackson had a two-run home run in the first inning when the A’s hit for the cycle with four consecutive batters, but Oakland’s bullpen imploded and wasted a solid outing by starter Rich Harden.

A day after tagging James Shields for 10 runs as part of a 13-6 blowout, the A’s jumped on Davis for five runs in the first inning and appeared on their way to a second straight rout before the Rays stormed back.

Every Tampa Bay starter had at least one hit or scored in the seventh. Jennings, who hit a two-run homer off Harden in the sixth, had a two-run single in the inning before Longoria capped the outburst with his 14th home run of the season.

In all, Tampa Bay had five hits and three walks in its highest-scoring inning of the season. All three batters who walked scored.

It’s the first time the Rays have overcome a five-run deficit to win since June 1, 2010, when they rallied to win at Toronto 7-6.

Davis was the biggest benefactor, earning his first win since June 25. The Rays’ right-hander gave up five runs and six hits in the first inning but didn’t allow another runner after that and finished with six strikeouts in his second start since coming back off the disabled list.

Joel Peralta, Jake McGee and Kyle Farnsworth finished off the A’s over the final three innings to help Tampa Bay win for only the second time in its last seven games. Farnsworth earned his 20th save in 24 tries.

The A’s, who had a nine-run fourth inning Wednesday, couldn’t do anything after their big first inning and blew a five-run lead for the second time this season.

All of the damage in the seventh came against Oakland’s bullpen.

Craig Breslow was tagged for three runs in one-third of an inning, Brad Ziegler also allowed three—including a bases-loaded walk—while Brian Fuentes gave up Longoria’s home run.

Ziegler (3-2) failed to retire a batter and took the loss.

Upton hit his home run, a one-out solo shot in the eighth, off Trystan Magnuson.

That spoiled an otherwise solid outing by Harden, who gave up three hits and two runs over six innings. The right-hander, who missed the first three months of the season with a strained right shoulder, retired the first nine batters and didn’t allow a hit until Ben Zobrist’s leadoff single in the fifth.

Harden retired the next two batters and finished with seven strikeouts and two walks. He left with a 5-2 lead but wound up with no-decision after the meltdown by the bullpen.

The A’s jumped on Davis early when they batted around in the first inning and hit for the cycle as a team with four straight batters.

Cliff Pennington’s one-out single preceded the Oakland cycle. Hideki Matsui also singled, Josh Willingham hit an RBI double and David DeJesus followed with a two-run triple before Jackson’s home run made it 5-0.

It’s the first time in their Oakland history that the A’s have hit for the cycle with four consecutive batters. It also marked the eighth consecutive game in which they’ve scored at least four runs, the team’s longest such streak since 2007.

Oakland made it close.

Kurt Suzuki homered in the seventh, DeJesus added on RBI on a fielder’s choice grounder in the eighth and the A’s added another run in the ninth before Farnsworth struck out Pennington with a runner at second to end it.

Notes: Pennington, who entered the game as the hottest hitter in the majors since the All-Star break, extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games. … The Rays traded former All-Star INF Felipe Lopez to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash. Lopez batted .216 in with two home runs and eight RBIs in 32 games with the Rays this season but had been designated for assignment twice. … Tampa Bay called up RHP Mike Ekstrom from Triple-A Durham to replace RHP Rob Delaney, who was optioned following Wednesday’s game. … The last team to hit for the cycle as a team with four consecutive batters was Colorado on June 6, 2008.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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