OAKLAND, Calif. — Outfielder Desmond Jennings and starter Drew Smyly, the two players who rejoined the Rays last week after extended stays on the disabled list, played key roles in putting them in position to win Friday's game.But they didn't complete the 2-1 victory over the A's until Brad Boxberger made it, well, interesting would be a polite way to put it, with another messy ninth inning."You take the end result, definitely,'' Boxberger said. "A win's a win no matter how it is. I still feel I have a lot of work to do. When things are not going your way you can really tell they're not going your way."The Rays, who got back to .500 at 61-61, took a 2-0 lead into the ninth.Jennings, who missed more than three months with a left knee injury that required surgery, took care of the offense. He singled in a run in the second inning and launched a homer into the second deck of the 0.co Coliseum in the ninth. That was after driving in the only run in Thursday's 1-0 win in Houston, and made him 10-for-28 since his return, playing in seven of the eight games."I've got to do something, I didn't play in three months,'' Jennings said. "I'm pretty happy about it, it's going pretty good so far. Just trying to keep it up, keep going.''Smyly, who missed three months with a shoulder injury, was much sharper Friday than his rough return in Texas, working into the sixth without a run, allowing six hits but no walks while throwing 91 pitches in picking up his first win in nearly a full year.His curveball, a major problem against the Rangers, was much sharper and his overall command much better. And he logged two huge strikeouts in crucial situations, getting Billy Burns swinging at a 92 mph fastball with two on and two outs in the fifth (and slapping his glove in a rare show of emotion), and then Brett Lawrie with the bases loaded in the sixth to end his night."I felt great. I commanded the strike zone way better with all my pitches,'' Smyly said. "I feel like I needed this game. I needed an outing to bounce back. I felt like I've been throwing a lot of strikes, but for whatever reason been giving up some hits, timely hits. Tonight it went my way, so it felt good to get those outs, those big outs when you needed to it.''Brandon Gomes got an even bigger out to end the sixth in retiring ex-Ray/current A's All-Star Stephen Vogt, and then three more in the seventh to run his streak of consecutive batters retired, over nine appearances, to 26, one shy of a reliever "perfect game." And Steve Geltz came on to work a solid 1-2-3 eighth.But all that looked like it might go for naught the way the ninth unfolded.Boxberger has had a tough week, giving up a game-losing homer Tuesday night in Houston (his sixth walkoff loss and major-league reliever most ninth overall) and then blowing the save Wednesday.Friday was trending that way, as he quickly had the winning run on second base with one out before striking out Marcus Semien and retiring Burns, who fouled off five straight pitches, to escape with his 30th save."Ninth innings are tough at times, and this was a tough one,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Good for him and good for us he was able to calm it down and get through that.''Boxberger got the first out, but the trouble started when Brett Lawrie grounded a ball that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera got to but couldn't make a play on for an infield single. Vogt lined a single to center, and then Boxberger bounced a breaking ball by catcher Curt Casali to move the runners up.Things got worse as Coco Crisp check-swing blooped a ball that fell into shallow center to score one run, and when Kevin Kiermaier made an ill-advised throw back to second, pinch-runner Sam Fuld, another ex-Ray, moved up to third."Again, not a lot of hard hit balls,'' Cash said. "That's just kind of the luck he's having a little bit right now, nothing more than that.''Despite all that was going wrong, Boxberger maintained his composure, and his focus on the next hitter."It's one to remember for sure for having to battle after each hitter, couple of balls falling and I was able to battle out of it,'' he said. "It all just kind of magnifies itself when things aren't going your way, so I'll take it as a step in the right direction and go from there."The Rays wasted several earlier chances to expand their lead, including loading the bases in the fifth and getting a leadoff double from Grady Sizemore in the sixth.But the most interesting sequence came in the seventh, when they again had the bases loaded.The A's brought in ambidextrous Pat Venditte, who is, essentially, a switch-pitcher, able to go from lefty-to-righty based on the batter, though he has to commit before each at-bat starts.The Rays had lefty-swinging Grady Sizemore due up but opted for a pinch-hitter, and Cash sent up switch-hitter Daniel Nava. Venditte chose to pitch lefty and Nava hit righty, but there were no dramatics as he popped out to end the threat."Obviously a unique situation,'' Cash said. Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.