ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Nick Swisher was eager to return to the Oakland Athletics' lineup after being sidelined by a strained left hamstring.
Swisher hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth to lead the Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night.
"He likes big moments," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He rises to the occasion a lot."
Shannon Stewart walked and Mark Ellis singled off Gary Glover (0-2) with one out in the ninth. Brian Stokes replaced Glover and struck out Eric Chavez before Swisher hit a 2-2 pitch into the right-field stands.
"I don't do well when I can't play," Swisher said. "I don't know what to do. So I just bother a lot of people. It's nice to get into the lineup."
Swisher was the designated hitter in his first start since getting hurt on April 24. He stepped out of the batter's box a couple times with the announced crowd of 11,546 standing before hitting his fifth homer of the season.
"When the crowd gets going like that, it's hard to keep nerves down," Swisher said. "When you get in those situations, especially me being a hyper guy, my biggest thing is just trying to calm down, get in the box and put a good swing on it."
Justin Duchscherer (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Huston Street got the final three outs for his eighth save.
The Devil Rays had only two batters reach base before Elijah Dukes hit a solo homer off Dan Haren with two outs in the sixth to put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1.
A lack of offensive support early on cost Haren his fourth straight win. He gave up two runs, four hits and struck out nine over seven innings.
"The guys' been lights out for us all season long," Swisher said. "The only frustrating part about it was we couldn't get him the win."
Haren is 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA this season.
"The Devil Rays, it's not a fun lineup to face," Haren said. "They're really aggressive. I'm happy with the way I pitched."
Chavez snapped an 0-for-14 slide with an RBI single in the seventh that tied the game at 2.
Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton, who started play leading the AL in batting, went 2-for-4 to increase his average to .386. Casey Fossum allowed one run and five hits in six innings.
Swisher put Oakland up 1-0 on a sacrifice fly in the first.
Tampa Bay tied it at 1-1 on Ty Wigginton's fourth-inning sacrifice fly. He drove in Carl Crawford, who hit his 61st triple since the start of the 2003 season.
Oakland threatened in the fifth by putting runners on first and second with two outs, but didn't score when Chavez struck out.
Fossum also got out of trouble in the sixth by getting three consecutive outs -- including strikeouts of Dan Johnson and Bobby Crosby -- after Swisher's leadoff double.
The Athletics were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the first eight innings.
Fossum attended Thursday's public memorial in Tupelo, Miss., for St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock, who died in an automobile accident early Sunday.
"I know Josh would want me to keep pitching and not worry about him," Fossum said. "It's tough. I think the turnout (at the memorial) was great and his family appreciated everybody being there."
Oakland placed DH Mike Piazza (sprained right shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of DH-OF Jack Cust from Triple-A Sacramento. Piazza, hurt in Wednesday's game at Boston, is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. ... The Devil Rays have been outscored 28-4 in the first inning this year. ... Athletics RF Travis Buck was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game with a sore right wrist. ... Fossum threw a 52 mph curveball for a first-pitch strike against Ellis in the third. Two pitches Ellis lined a 53 mph offering to left for a single. Ellis went 1-for-1 with two walks off Fossum and is 5-for-6 overall against the left-hander.