Price dominates Rays' blowout over Jays
''Hitting is hard enough already,'' Rays catcher John Jaso said. ''What David brought today made it pretty much impossible.''
It wasn't just Price's stuff, but a stiff wind blowing out to center field that made him so effective, giving his fastball extraordinary movement.
''I've never had that much movement before so it was pretty cool,'' Price said. ''The wind kept blowing and it was making my eyes watery all game. I knew it was blowing pretty good and I just kept throwing it.''
Jaso and Price felt strong gusts pushing them as they walked in from the bullpen beforehand, but didn't know how helpful the wind would be until the game began, and Price's two-seamer started drifting.
''It looks like a strike right out of his hand and then it's just fading off the plate,'' Jaso explained. ''It was moving about three feet. Once they start to swing on his fastball, they can't hold it back.''
''He had everything working today, the changeup, the slider, the backdoor cutter,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''Everything was working off the fastball. That's why their hitters could not get comfortable at all.''
Price allowed only three singles and walked two. His first seven outs all came by a strikeout, with two hits mixed in during that span.
''He's got great movement,'' Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu said. ''You can get down in the count right away.''
After leaving the game, Price wrote a birthday greeting for his mother on his hand and flashed it for TV cameras. He'd sent her flowers and a card on Friday, but figured she'd like the win even more.
Rays pitchers set a team mark by fanning 18 batters overall. Reliever Brandon Gomes struck out two in 1 1-3 innings and Cesar Ramos struck out two to end it.
''It's fun to catch when you've got something like that going,'' Jaso said.
Jennings homered on the first pitch of the game and got a career-high four hits. He drove in three runs, scored three, drew a walk and stole a base from the leadoff spot.
The Blue Jays lost their fourth straight. They finished with five hits.
Price quickly matched his career high, striking out 12 through five innings. The left-hander didn't fan anyone in the sixth, but finished his outing with two more strikeouts in the seventh, matching and then passing Kazmir (2007) and Shields (2011) for the Rays' record.
Price improved to 9-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 career starts against Toronto.
Price didn't give his defense much to do in the first three innings. He did allow a pair of baserunners over that span: Mike McCoy led off the first with a walk and Jose Molina hit a two-out single in the second. Neither runner advanced.
McCoy was the first batter to make an out on a batted ball when he grounded to second in the third. McCoy, who walked again in the sixth, was the only Blue Jays batter not to strike out against Price.
Toronto's 18 strikeouts were a season-high, two more they had in a 3-1 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels on April 10. The franchise record is 19, set twice previously, both times in extra-inning games.
Jennings put Tampa Bay ahead right away, connecting against Brandon Morrow (9-9) for the first leadoff home run of his career.
''It's an early run and gets the team up and the pitcher, especially David, he doesn't need many runs,'' Jennings said.
After John Jaso's RBI double in the second scored B.J. Upton, Rodriguez hit a two-run shot into the second deck in left. Jennings made it back-to-back homers when he followed with another drive to left, his first multihomer game.
Morrow (9-9) allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander has given up five homers in his past 10 innings. He lost for the fourth time in five starts.
NOTES: Toronto LHP Wil Ledezma was designated for assignment after allowing six runs in the ninth. ... Blue Jays manager John Farrell (pneumonia) missed his third straight game, with Wakamatsu continuing to run the team. ... Rays RHP Kyle Farnsworth (elbow) was available after missing the previous four games. ... Toronto 1B Adam Lind, mired in a 3-for-21 slump, was held out of the starting lineup. ... Blue Jays RHP Jon Rauch (appendectomy) threw a bullpen session before the game, his second in three days. ... Toronto OF Rajai Davis (torn left hamstring) has begun jogging and taking batting practice at the team's minor league complex in Florida and could return before the end of the season. ... Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (8-7) faces Blue Jays LHP Ricky Romero (12-9) in Monday's series finale.