Crabs' Casali drives in seven runs

Rays prospect sets career high in RBIs in rout of Threshers

Curt Casali was a Florida State League All Star this year. (Cliff Welch/

By Brandon Simes / | July 15, 2013 7:10 PM ET

Curt Casali's career high in RBIs prior to Monday night was three. He changed that with just one swing against the Threshers.

Casali smacked a grand slam and a bases-clearing double to lead Class A Advanced Charlotte to an 11-0 shellacking of Clearwater at Bright House Field.

The Rays catching prospect had driven in three runs six times as a pro, but this year had a season high of two RBIs. He doubled that with a grand slam to left field in the fifth inning that knocked Charlotte's starter Ethan Stewart (0-4) out of the game after 4 1/3 innings.

Casali, who walked in his first at-bat, finished off his career night with a double in the ninth. The 24-year-old from Walnut Creek, Calif., raised his batting average to .287 and is hitting .375 (6-for-16) in his last four contests with a homer, two doubles, three walks and nine RBIs.

Detroit's 2011 10th-round pick posted a .902 OPS in 48 games for Class A West Michigan in the Midwest League last season before a promotion to Class A Advanced Lakeland, where he slumped to a .672 mark in 46 games.

The 6-foot-2 right-handed hitter out of Vanderbilt was traded to the Rays in March as compensation for Rule 5 Draft selection Kyle Lobstein. In his second go-around in the Florida State League, Casali has fared far better, earning midseason All Star honors and posting a .779 OPS in his first 43 games in the Tampa Bay system.

Left fielder Jeff Malm provided Casali with solid protection in the lineup, blasting two homers and driving in three runs. Malm's two homers gave him 10 on the season, three short of the career high he set last year in 128 games in the Midwest League.

Lenny Linsky (3-5) earned the win by striking out a pair in three perfect innings of relief of starter Jacob Partridge, who allowed one hit, walked three and fanned six in four innings. Sean Bierman closed out the victory by allowing two hits and striking out three in two innings.

Right fielder Willie Argo reached base three times with a single and two walks, scoring twice and stealing his 24th base. He is tied for third in the league behind Dunedin's Jon Berti, who has 40 thefts. Shortstop Jake Hager, also a midseason All Star, went 2-for-4 with a walk, a run and an RBI.

Brandon Simes is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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