ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash was impressed by another Rays comeback win, but he wouldn’t mind a few early leads.
Curt Casali capped a six-run seventh inning with a two-run homer and the Rays rallied for a 9-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
Casali had just one hit in 26 at-bats since consecutive two-homer games against Detroit on July 27-28.
Tampa Bay has won four in a row, including three when trailing 3-0. The Rays also had comeback wins Saturday and Sunday over the New York Mets.
“I’m ready to have a 3-0 lead and maintain it,” Cash said with a smile. “It speaks volumes about the club. We’ll take them anyway we can get them.”
Pedro Ciriaco homered for the first time in more than two years and tied a career high with four RBIs for the Braves, who have lost 14 of 20.
“We don’t play the game to lose,” Ciriaco said.
The Rays scored five times off reliever Matt Marksberry (0-1) in the seventh.
James Loney hit an RBI double and Logan Forsythe had a sacrifice fly, then a run scored on a Marksberry wild pitch. The left-hander then missed touching the base on a throw from first baseman Joey Terdoslavich on Kevin Kiermaier’s two-out grounder that allowed Brandon Guyer to score from second.
“It’s kind of a crazy game,” Kiermaier said.
Ryan Kelly entered and gave up Casali’s homer that made it 9-6.
Alex Colome (5-4) replaced Jake Odorizzi with two on and no outs in the seventh. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Ciriaco and then threw a wild pitch that allowed another run score to put the Braves up 6-3.
Odorizzi, who had allowed just eight earned runs over 51 1-3 innings in eight home starts this season, gave up six earned runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
“To be honest, terrible,” Odorizzi said of his outing.
Brad Boxberger pitched the ninth for his 29th save, striking out Ciriaco with two on and one out.
The teams’ traded solo homers during the fifth. Ciriaco hit his first homer since June 20, 2013 before Grady Sizemore went deep to cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 4-2.
Ciriaco drove in two with a single during a three-run second to help Atlanta go ahead 3-0.
“There was some good, there was some bad and a little bit of ugly mixed in there,” Cash said.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman (oblique) and INF prospect Hector Olivera (hamstring) will join the GCL Braves on Thursday. GM John Hart is optimistic Freeman will return when eligible Aug. 19.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (labrum) could rejoin the rotation next week.
The Rays plan to reinstate OF Desmond Jennings (left knee surgery) from the DL Friday. OF Joey Butler was optioned to Triple-A Durham.
Braves starter Matt Wisler gave up two runs and seven hits in five innings. … The Rays swept Atlanta for the first time in a series of any length. … Sizemore has six homers in 24 games with Tampa Bay. … Rays SS Asdrubal Cabrera has multihit efforts in eight of his last nine games. … Tampa Bay (58-56) is two over .500 for the first time since the end of play on July 5 (43-41).
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (7-6) and Arizona LHP Robbie Ray (3-7) are Friday night’s starters.
Rays: RHP Nathan Karns (7-5) will pitch at home in Arlington, Texas for the first time Friday night against the Rangers. “The opportunity is something I definitely dreamt about,” Karns said. “I’ve seen my share of Ranger games there, anywhere from the top row to first row.” Karns is running outside “to get used to the Texas heat” with highs around 100 degrees.