Casali hits two HRs to help Rays top Tigers 5-2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Desperate for some offense, the Tampa Bay Rays got it from a catcher hitting .214 and batting ninth.
Curt Casali homered twice, Nathan Karns took a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning and the Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 Monday night.
"Anything I can do to help," said Casali, who added a single to the first multi-homer game of his career. "We're struggling. Tonight was a really good night, and we've just got to keep building on this type of night because they haven't happened as frequently as we want."
Casali's first homer came on the first pitch of the third inning by Anibal Sanchez, who lost for the first time in nine starts since June 3. Casali added a towering two-run homer off the B-ring catwalk, his fifth of the season, off Bruce Rondon in the eighth.
It is believed to be the first home run hit off the B-ring catwalk since Frank Thomas hit one for the Chicago White Sox on April 4, 1998, in the fifth game ever played at Tropicana Field.
"We do need offense right now. That's no secret," said manager Kevin Cash. "What (Casali) provided today was a huge lift. We needed a little bit of an offensive outburst and I think we had 12 hits. It was good to see from top to bottom."
The Rays had gone 13 straight games without scoring more than four runs, tied for the longest such streak in the majors this season.
Detroit lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
Consecutive doubles by Steven Souza Jr. and Kevin Kiermaier made it 2-0 in the fourth, and Logan Forsythe had a two-out RBI single off Sanchez (10-8) in the fifth.
Karns (6-5) gave up three hits and no walks in six-plus innings, winning six days after a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia in which he hit a home run.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the seventh with his 16th home run, Detroit's second hit of the game, to pull the Tigers to 3-1. Victor Martinez followed with a single to chase Karns.
Cespedes drove in Detroit's second run with a two-out single in the eighth, ending Jake McGee's streak of 21 straight scoreless relief appearances.
Brad Boxberger pitched the ninth for his 25th save.
"We didn't do a whole lot offensively, but we came within one late in the eighth," said Detroit manager Brad Ausmus. "Unfortunately the two-run homer kind put the nail in the coffin."
Sanchez gave up three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander had won seven straight decisions.
Kiermaier left the game in the sixth inning with an abrasion of his left eye.
Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus is optimistic that 1B Miguel Cabrera's recovery from a left calf strain "will be on the short side" of the six-to-eight week estimates. ... LHP Kyle Lobstein (shoulder) threw batting practice and is close to starting a rehab assignment.
Rays: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (strained right hamstring) was activated after the game, and INF Jake Elmore was optioned to Triple-A Durham ... LHP Drew Smyly (torn left labrum) is scheduled for a second rehab start Friday night and said he believes he is on "the back side" of his recovery.
Casali has four home runs in the last five games in which he has batted. Rays catchers (Rene Rivera also has five) have hit 10 homers this season compared to five last season (all by Ryan Hanigan).
LHP David Price (9-3, 2.31), who won 82 games in six seasons and the 2012 Cy Young Award for the Rays before being traded to Detroit last July, will face his former team for the second time Tuesday night. RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.85) will pitch for Tampa Bay.