ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Carlos Santana's English is heavily accented, but Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson understood his catcher to say "Let's have a happy flight today," before their road trip- and series-concluding game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
The starting pitcher and his battery mate did just about everything they could to send Cleveland into its home opener on Monday with momentum, as Masterson allowed just two hits in seven innings and Santana went a career-best 5-for-5 with a double, homer and three RBI in a 13-0 rout.
Facing the defending American League Cy Young Award winner might seem a peculiar remedy for offensive woes, but it worked for the Indians on Sunday. After being shut out in the first two games of the three-game series, Cleveland hammered David Price for five innings and avoided a sweep.
"We hadn't scored in two nights; were facing the guy who won the Cy Young," Indians manager Terry Francona pondered. "He's good. We made him work. We gave ourselves chances early, which is good. Then we cashed in on those, which is even better."
Price (0-1), who had not lost to the Indians in six previous starts, was charged with a career-worst eight earned runs and 10 hits in five innings. He struck out just three and walked three. Price had not allowed an earned run in three career starts against Cleveland at Tropicana Field.
Indians starter Justin Masterson (2-0) quietly dominated the Rays while Price struggled. Masterson gave up two hits while striking out eight in seven innings. He was particularly dominant after escaping a base-loaded situation -- sparked by two of his three walks in the first.
Francona lauded Masterson for the "responsibility" he felt in ending the series with a win, adding that he displayed the best breaking ball he's ever seen from him. Masterson deflected the praise.
"The boys came out and bamboozled," he said. "They started hitting some balls. It was pretty cool to see. They were just crushing balls. They put runs on the board and it makes the pitcher's job a lot easier."
Cleveland outhit the Rays, 17-3.
"David was obviously not sharp, but he's not going to make any excuses about it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I am not concerned. It was just one of those days."
The Indians scored three times in the third and four in the fifth to blow the game open.
In the fifth, eighth-place hitter Lonnie Chisenhall hit a three-run homer and Santana delivered a run-scoring double. Price allowed four hits in the inning, including a leadoff double by Ryan Raburn.
Price labored in the third and the Indians punished him, scoring three times for a 4-0 lead. He struggled with control, falling behind and eventually walking Asdrubal Cabrera and Raburn. After a hard line out to left by Nick Swisher, Price surrendered a soaring three-run homer to center by Mark Reynolds on an 0-and-1 curveball.
"I've already forgotten about it," Price said of the loss. "I've got, hopefully 31 more starts this year."
In the seventh, Reynolds hit his fourth homer of the year off reliever Kyle Farnsworth and Santana doubled and scored on a Mike Aviles single for a 10-0 bulge.
Michael Bourn made it 11-0 off Brandon Gomes in the eighth with his first homer of the season.
Santana capped off his day with a two-run homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth.
"Price is the best pitcher now," Santana said. "I tried to be aggressive, I had men on base. I was happy."
An RBI single by ninth-place hitter Drew Stubbs had given Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the second. Aviles, who reached on a fielder's choice, had taken third on a Chisenhall groundout that resulted in Reynolds being caught in a rundown between third and home.
NOTES: Masterson previously was 1-7 with a 7.71 ERA against the Rays in 13 games. ... The shutout was Cleveland's first since July 13 at Toronto. ... Cleveland's scoreless innings streak ended at 19 innings. ... Santana, the Indians' catcher, was struck on the right hand by a Matt Joyce foul ball in the second inning despite shielding the hand behind his right foot. He remained in the game. ... The loss was the Rays largest via shutout since July 1, 2004, (14-0, against Toronto). ... Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was presented his 2012 Gold Glove Award before the game. ... Rays reliever Jeff Niemann will have his sore right shoulder examined Monday in Texas, according to tbo.com. He is on the 15-day disabled list. ... The Rays entered the game as one of four major-league teams without an error. They committed an uncharacteristic 114 last season.