Double feature: Curt Casali hits 2 more HRs as Rays crush Tigers
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The small, but appreciative crowd at Tropicana Field stood and cheered, urging Curt Casali to pop out of the dugout for a curtain call.
The Tampa Bay catcher's buddy, Detroit All-Star pitcher David Price, backed off the rubber to give his friend a chance to enjoy a moment the rookie won't soon forget.
"It was special. That guy is one of my best friends," Casali said after he had three hits and homered twice for the second straight game, leading the Rays to a 10-2 victory over the slumping Tigers on Tuesday night.
"To do it off of him, with what he's accomplished in his career, was really special for me," Casali added. "He even congratulated me afterwards (in written and text messages). That was really cool. He's a classy guy."
Casali hit a two-run homer off Price (9-4) in the fourth inning and added a solo shot off the former Rays ace for a 5-1 lead in the sixth. He struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth, finishing 3 for 4 with three RBIs on consecutive nights.
He's known Price since his days at Vanderbilt, where the 2012 AL Cy Young winner was finishing up his college career around the time Casali was arriving on campus.
"He's going to have to find someone else to play golf with in the offseason, but it's all right," Price said.
"I told him not to hit any more homers off of me before the game and he hit two," Price added. "Good for Curt. He's been swinging the bat extremely well. He works hard, so I appreciate that."
Jake Odorizzi (6-6) allowed one run and six hits over six innings to improve to 2-1 since returning from a five-week stint on the disabled list.
Yoenis Cespedes homered for the second straight night for the Tigers, who've lost four of five to start a 10-game game road trip and dropped 13 games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central. The solo shot briefly tied it at 1 in the fourth.
Price, whose future in Detroit is the subject of speculation with Friday's major league trade deadline looming, allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings to lose his third straight start.
The five-time All-Star was part of four teams that made the playoffs in seven seasons with Tampa Bay. He was traded to the Tigers hours before the July 31 deadline a year ago.
In his only other start against his former team, the hard-throwing left-hander pitched a complete game in defeat, losing 1-0 after allowing one hit in eight innings -- a triple that drove in an unearned run.
A night after stopping a streak of 13 consecutive games scoring four or fewer runs, Tampa Bay did most of its damage against Price in two innings. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled and scored on Tim Beckham's single in the second, then doubled to drive in a run ahead of Casali's two-run homer that made it 4-1 in the fourth.
Casali also homered twice to help the Rays win the series opener on Monday. He's gone deep six times in his last six games with a plate appearance and six of his last eight hits have been home runs.
"It's not what I try to do," Casali said.
"I try to hit the ball hard. Rarely does it leave the park, but I'm really just trying to enjoy this," the rookie said. "We're winning again, which is the most important thing, and I'm having a lot of fun right now."
Evan Longoria homered leading off a five-run, eighth inning for Tampa Bay. After Neftali Feliz fanned Casali with the bases loaded, Beckham tripled to drive in three more runs and finish with four RBIs.
"You could argue that today maybe was our best offensive output -- not only in the last month, but maybe the season," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera (strained left calf) is running at 70 percent on a treadmill and is expected back in mid-to-late August.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back in the lineup after leaving Monday night's game because of a left eye abrasion that the Rays described as minor. ... OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) will start a minor league rehab assignment this weekend with Triple-A Durham.
HOW ABOUT THAT
Casali has tied the Rays record for homers in a three-game series with four. He's the first Tampa Bay player to hit a pair in consecutive games since Greg Vaughn did it May 18-19, 2002, at Baltimore.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (0-3) will try for his first win of the season Wednesday. It's his eighth start since returning from a right triceps injury.
Rays: All-Star RHP Chris Archer (9-7) starts the season finale. He's 0-3 over five starts since beating Toronto on June 23.