Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/10/12

B.J. Upton was challenged by James Shields, but the center fielder still was the Tampa Bay Rays' star of the game after hitting a team-record-tying three home runs in Sunday's 6-0 win over the Texas Rangers.

Shields was also impressive, throwing a two-hit shutout.

However, Upton's feat was more of a rarity. He became the third Ray to hit three homers in a game, joining Jonny Gomes (2005) and Evan Longoria (2008).

"I can't really put it into words," Upton said. "You kind of dream about doing things like that, and they don't happen very often."

He went deep off Rangers starter Roy Oswalt in the first inning, then took left-handed reliever Martin Perez deep in the fourth and sixth innings. All three were solo homers.

Rays manager Joe Maddon lauded Upton's effort, but he was even more pleased with the bigger picture. Upton has hit 12 homers in 36 games since the start of August after hitting nine in his first 88 games this year.

"He's not afraid," Maddon said. "Some guys will walk away from a big moment. He does not hide from a big moment. He likes it, and I think it brings out the best in him. ...

"He enjoys this time of year. I really expect and believe he's going to play well the rest of the season."

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