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A’s Danny Valencia cranks three homers to beat Rays

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There are nights you blown out. There are nights that slip away on a late error. They are nights when an umpire’s call goes the wrong way or a ball bounces strangely or a fly ball is lost in the sun.

Then there are days such as Sunday, when the Tampa Bay Rays lost an especially painful game to the Oakland A’s.

Danny Valencia hit three home runs to lead the A’s to a 7-6 comeback win over the Rays, a loss that is sure to sting for a while.

“It’s good that it only counts as one loss,” said manager Kevin Cash. “This one could feel like three or four.”

The Rays blew a 5-1 lead at one point, and they blew a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning. Valencia was the main culprit. He had five home runs in the series.

The last one came on the first pitch he saw from Steve Geltz.

“He just jumped on the first pitch,” Geltz said. “I’ve got to make better pitches than that and be competitive.”

Brandon Guyer had a big day himself, with two home runs and five RBI. Evan Longoria had a double and home run.

Matt Moore pitched five innings for the Rays, giving up seven hits and four earned runs.

The Rays have now hit 50 home runs on the season, but they remain last in the big leagues in runs scored and batting average.

Tampa Bay begins a three-game series tonight against Toronto when Drew Smyly pitches against J.A. Happ.

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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