Encore: Casali on historic homer tear for Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Curt Casali's stats line for the Rays' 10-2 victory over the Tigers Tuesday matched his Monday stats line to a tee.
But Casali's most recent 3-for-4, two-homer game proved to be the most memorable of the two for both sentimental and historical reasons.
With his good friend and fellow Vanderbilt alum David Price on the mound for the Tigers, the Tampa Bay catcher kicked his day off with a single in the second and followed that up with a two-run shot to left field in the fourth that put the Rays up, 4-1.
Two innings later, Casali burned Price once again, depositing an opposite-field home run to right. Casali said the big night prompted his friend Price to leave a note hung on Casali's locker that read "Nicely done," as well as a text saying "nice job with some angry emojis."
"He's one of the best guys I know," Casali said. "I don't feel bad hitting home runs off of him, to say that, but it definitely feels pretty good to do it off of somebody I know pretty well."
The most memorable of Price's gestures, though, came moments after Casali's seventh home run of the season landed in the seats, when the crowd of 16,326 began to roar and Price stepped off the mound to allow a rare Tropicana Field curtain call.
"I've probably heard two curtain calls here," Price said. "B.J. [Upton] hit for the cycle against the Yankees here in the last series in 2012 and I'm sure [Evan] Longoria had another one as well. But other than that, I haven't heard a whole lot of curtain calls, so I stepped off."
Casali's consecutive multi-home run games make him the second rookie catcher in Major League history to accomplish that feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau -- the other being Seattle's Kenji Johjima in 2006.
Casali also becomes the second player in Rays history with back-to-back multi-home run games, joining Greg Vaughn, who did in Baltimore on May 18-19, 2002, and the first catcher since Mike Napoli on Sept. 27-28, 2011.
"This is not what I try to do," said Casali, whose six home runs in the month of July are also the most ever by a Rays catcher in a single month, passing John Flaherty. "I try to hit the ball hard, but rarely does it leave the park. But I'm really just trying to enjoy this.
"We're winning again, which is the most important thing, and anything I can do to help is really special to me. I'm having a lot of fun right now."