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TEX@TB: Jennings crushes a walk-off homer in the 10th

ST. PETERSBURG -- It seemed only fitting that the Rays would celebrate the 1,000th win in franchise history in walk-off fashion.

The cowbells were ringing loud and proud at Tropicana Field on Wednesday as Desmond Jennings was mobbed at home plate after the rookie launched a first-pitch fastball from Rangers reliever Mark Lowe over the left-field wall in the bottom of the 10th inning to propel Tampa Bay to a 5-4 victory over Texas.

"Beautiful," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's a nice milestone, and many more thousands to come."

The Rays won their 900th game against the Rangers in Arlington on Aug. 18, 2010. Derek Holland -- Wednesday's starter for Texas -- also started in that game.

Tampa Bay has walked off 11 times this season -- six of them via the home run.

"That was probably the most exciting thing I've done in a while," said Jennings, who snapped a 3-for-35 slump with the blast.

Jennings wasn't the only Rays rookie to go yard on Wednesday. Designated hitter Brandon Guyer connected off the left-field foul pole for his second career home run in the sixth inning.

Maddon said he feels confident using his rookies while contending for a postseason berth.

"Even though we're playing these young guys, that means nothing," Maddon said. "We're not giving up, we're not conceding, we're not just trying to give guys playing time. We believe these guys can play well now, and they're showing it."

The game went into extra innings after Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth gave up a solo homer to Ian Kinsler in the ninth to blow his fifth save of the season and deny David Price his 13th win.

Price struck out five, including his 200th strikeout of the season, joining teammate James Shields in the 200-strikeout club.

"It's good to join Shields," Price said. "It's been fun. It's been a lot of fun watching him pitch the entire year, and I'm just glad I've had some success."

Price battled the dangerous Texas lineup through six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits.

"He was out there competing. That's what he does," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Price. "We have to give him credit; he kept his team in the ballgame."

The Rays gave Price an early 2-0 lead on Ben Zobrist's two-run double to right-center in the bottom of the first.

Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the second. Kelly Shoppach drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Justin Ruggiano single. Shoppach scored on Kinsler's throwing error on a slow roller by B.J. Upton to put the Rays up, 3-0.

The Rangers scratched out a run in the fourth. Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back singles, and Beltre scored when Sean Rodriguez booted a David Murphy grounder on a potential inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Texas made Price labor through the fifth. Kinsler led off the frame with a homer to left field to make it a 3-2 game. Price then walked Elvis Andrus, who was caught stealing second with Hamilton batting. Josh Hamilton then knocked a broken-bat single to right, but he was erased on a fielder's choice. Price then struck out Napoli -- his 200th whiff of the season -- to end the threat.

"That's a postseason lineup," Price said. "They've got a good team, one through nine. It's tough."

Guyer's homer in the sixth gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 cushion, but the Rangers cut the Rays' lead to one in the top of the eighth when Napoli homered to left off reliever Joel Peralta.

Farnsworth sent a few hundred of the 11,190 fans in attendance to the exits when he surrendered the game-tying run to Kinsler -- his second homer of the day -- in the ninth.

"You've got a lead going on, Kyle's in the game -- he's been perfect almost all season -- and you feel pretty good about it and then boom, there's the homer and you've got to regroup right there," Maddon said. "He had to hang tough there also to get out of the inning."

Jake McGee pitched a scoreless 10th for the Rays despite giving up a leadoff single to Napoli, who went 4-for-5, to set the stage for Jennings' heroics.

Jennings was sitting on a first-pitch fastball, and he got one. As soon as he launched the ball, he had a pretty good feeling it would leave the yard.

"I did [know]," Jennings said. "I thought I did until I saw Hamilton running back for it and was like, 'Where you going?' But it got out."

The win gives the Rays momentum going into their weekend series against the AL Wild Card-leading Red Sox, with Boston up 7 1/2 games entering Thursday's action. Comments