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Kevin Kiermaier’s home run lifts the Rays in the 10th

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The Tampa Bay Rays have experienced a lot of triumph and a lot of heartache over the years.

Wednesday night, they experienced both.

There was the thrill of the evening, a 10th-inning home run by Kevin Kiermaier that led to a series-winning victory, 6-5 over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. There was the agony of letting one slip away, as Brad Boxberger finally blew a save opportunity. There was the energy of a comeback from a 4-0 defeat.

In all, it left the Rays two games above .500 (28-26) and in second place in the American League East.

Kiermaier ended things with his first home run in a month, hitting a 2-1 fastball over the right field wall to lead off the 10th. He is now hitting .236 for the season.

The Rays had gotten back into the game by scoring five runs in the sixth inning with home runs by Joey Butler and Steven Souza Jr. That suggested to manager Kevin Cash that it was time to go to his rested bullpen instead of staying with rookie Nathan Karns.

As it was, it wasn’t a great night for the Rays’ pen, who went through six relievers. Boxberger had his first blown save after 15 in a row when Erick Aybar hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera knocked down a grounder and threw David Freese out at home in the sixth on what Cash said “might have been our best play of the year.”

The Rays now travel to Seattle to start a four-game series with the Mariners tonight. Erasmo Ramirez starts for Tampa Bay.

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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