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Curt Casali's two homers help Tampa Bay Rays beat Detroit Tigers

By
Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Curt Casali (19) is congratulated by starting pitcher Matt Andriese (35). Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Curt Casali (19) is congratulated by starting pitcher Matt Andriese (35). Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- On the night David Price returned to Tropicana Field, another former Vanderbilt star stole the spotlight as the Tampa Bay Rays handed their former ace a 10-2 loss, beating the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

Curt Casali, a 26-year-old rookie and the Rays' backup catcher, hit two home runs off Price -- his second straight two-homer game, becoming just the second Rays player and second rookie catcher in major-league history to do so.

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"That guy is one of my best friends ... to do it off him with what he's accomplished in his career was definitely special for me," said Casali, who hit six home runs in a span of 19 at-bats, more than all Rays catchers combined for all of 2014. "He even congratulated me afterwards, which was pretty cool."

Price (9-4) sent Casali a text message -- "nice job, a couple of angry-face emojis," the catcher said -- and had a message left on Casali's locker, saying "nicely done, Curtis."

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Tampa Bay (51-51) had gone 13 straight games without scoring more than four runs, and now it accomplished the feat two nights in a row. The Rays hadn't scored in double digits since May 17, a span of 63 games. Detroit (48-52) was held to two runs or less for the fifth time in six games, all losses. Jake Odorizzi (6-6) outdueled his former teammate Price (9-4) for the win.

"He's going to need someone else to play golf with in the offseason," Price joked about Casali. "I told him not to hit any homers off me before the game, and he hit two. ... He works hard so I appreciate that."

Casali had a two-run home run in the fourth and a solo home run in the sixth, both off Price. The only other time in franchise history a Rays player had back-to-back multi-homer games was Greg Vaughn in 2002. According to Elias, he is just the second rookie catcher ever to do so, following Seattle's Kenji Johjima in 2006.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria added a solo home run in the eighth, his 11th of the season, and rookie second baseman Tim Beckham brought in three runs with a bases-loaded triple for a 9-1 lead, scoring on a sacrifice fly by outfielder Kevin Kiermaier.

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"Odo was outstanding, went toe-to-toe with David Price," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You could argue that maybe today was our best offensive output of not only the last month but maybe the season."

The Rays jumped out to a 4-1 lead on Price, who was making his second appearance at Tropicana Field since he was dealt to Detroit at last year's trade deadline.

"Even the best have games like this," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "David is one of the best in the game, just was a tick off tonight and we ran into Curt Casali the last couple nights. ... He swung a hot bat."

Casali, who hit two home runs Monday in Tampa Bay's win over the Tigers, came through again, hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Tampa Bay had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on three hits, with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera hitting a double and scoring on an RBI single by Beckham.

Detroit tied the game in the fourth on a solo home run by Yoenis Cespedes, who also had a solo shot Monday.

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The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by right fielder Steven Souza and Cabrera, who subsequently scored on Casali's home run.

NOTES: The Rays traded OF David DeJesus to the Angels for minor league RHP Eduar Lopez. DeJesus, 35, was hitting .259 with five home runs and 26 RBIs. Lopez, 20, was 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA in eight starts for rookie-level Orem. Tampa Bay played down a man Tuesday, with a corresponding addition expected after the game. ... Rays SS Asdrubal Cabrera was reinstated from the disabled list and batted sixth, hitting a double off the wall in left field and scoring in the second inning. ... Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier, who left Monday's game with an abrasion to his left eye that affected his vision, started and batted ninth. ... Tigers RHP Shane Greene, who started the season 3-0 but last won a major league game May 15, was moved to the bullpen. He is 4-8 with a 6.72 ERA. RHP Buck Farmer will start Friday at Baltimore.

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