Red Sox-White Sox Live: Ryan Dempster Guides Red Sox to 4-3 Victory in First Start Since Five-Game Suspension

ryan dempsterFinal, Red Sox 4-3: Koji Uehara tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to complete a four-out save, and the Red Sox take the series opener 4-3.

Ryan Dempster on Friday made his first start since Aug. 18. He served a five-game suspension for plunking Alex Rodriguez in that Aug. 18 game, and he was then pushed back while working on some things in the bullpen. The rest and side work certainly helped.

Dempster gave up three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of work while earning a victory in Friday’s series opener. He struck out five, walked three and threw 99 pitches (60 strikes). It’s unclear whether Dempster will shift to the bullpen when Clay Buchholz returns from the disabled list, but it was an encouraging outing for the struggling 36-year-old.

David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-23 stretch in the fourth inning Friday, and he did so in a big way. Ortiz delivered a two-out, two-run single into right-center field that gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead at the time.

The Red Sox and White Sox will go at it again Saturday, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Jake Peavy will face his former club.

Good night, everyone.

End 8th, Red Sox 4-3: Matt Lindstrom quickly took care of the Red Sox in the ninth inning.

Lindstrom needed just two pitches to record two outs, as Will Middlebrooks flied out to center field and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded back up the middle. Shane Victorino capped the inning with a five-pitch at-bat that ended with a flyout to left field.

Koji Uehara, who recorded the final out of the eighth inning, will come back out to pitch the ninth inning for Boston. He is seeking his 15th save of the season.

Avisail Garcia, Jeff Keppinger and Dayan Viciedo are due up for Chicago in the ninth.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-3: One down. Three to go.

Koji Uehara retired Paul Konerko on a fly ball to shallow left field to end the inning. Uehara is now three outs away from giving the Red Sox a victory.

Boston used three pitchers to retire the side in order in the eighth inning. Junichi Tazawa took care of Alexei Ramirez, Franklin Morales disposed of Adam Dunn and Uehara easily handled Konerko.

Matt Lindstrom will pitch the eighth inning for Chicago. He’s scheduled to face Will Middlebrooks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino.

10:09 p.m., Red Sox 4-3: Franklin Morales needed just two pitches to take care of Adam Dunn.

Morales tossed a first-pitch strike, and Dunn grounded the next pitch down to first base for the second out of the eighth inning.

The Red Sox will now turn to Koji Uehara for a four-out save.

10:05 p.m., Red Sox 4-3: Junichi Tazawa retired Alexei Ramirez to begin the eighth inning. The Red Sox will now turn to lefty Franklin Morales with Adam Dunn coming up.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-3: The Red Sox went down in order in the seventh inning.

Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew each flied out to center field. In between, Jarrod Saltalamacchia smoked a line drive right at third baseman Jeff Keppinger.

Junichi Tazawa will come back out to begin the eighth inning.

9:58 p.m., Red Sox 4-3: Here’s an update on Clay Buchholz, who made his second rehab start Friday night.

Buchholz allowed one run on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. He struck out two while throwing 53 pitches.

Buchholz is scheduled to make another start with Pawtucket on Sept. 4, meaning he could rejoin the Red Sox for their Sept. 10 game against the Rays. That would be a welcome sight for the Red Sox given how well he was pitching this season before going down.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-3: We’re suddenly looking at a one-run ballgame.

Josh Phegley lifted Junichi Tazawa’s first pitch to left field, where Jonny Gomes made the grab for the second out of the seventh inning.

Alejandro De Aza ripped Tazawa’s second pitch down into the right field corner. It hit off the base of the wall and rolled around while Dayan Viciedo scored all the way from first base. De Aza cruised into third base with a two-out triple.

Gordon Beckham made solid contact with the potential tying run on third base. He couldn’t drive in De Aza, though. Jacoby Ellsbury tracked down Beckham’s fly ball in right-center field to end the inning.

The run that scored on De Aza’s triple was charged to Dempster. Dempster was charged with three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of work. He struck out five, walked three and threw 99 pitches (60 strikes).

9:46 p.m., Red Sox 4-2: The Red Sox will turn to the bullpen with one out in the seventh inning.

Avisail Garcia led off the seventh with a solo homer into the Red Sox’ bullpen. Two batters later, Dayan Viciedo smacked a one-out, wall-ball single.

Junichi Tazawa will take over for Dempster, who is still responsible for Viciedo at first base.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

David Purcey was the new White Sox pitcher in the sixth, and he soon found himself delivering some high-stress pitches.

Will Middlebrooks scorched a single into center field to lead off the inning, and Purcey responded by retiring the next two hitters.

Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging, although the third strike got past catcher Josh Phegley. Ellsbury couldn’t take first base because it was occupied by Middlebrooks, but Middlebrooks was allowed to advance in that situation.

After Shane Victorino grounded out, the White Sox decided to intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia with first base open to face David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped an 0-for-23 skid earlier, and Chicago wanted to set up the lefty-lefty matchup.

Ortiz ended up walking to load the bases for Jonny Gomes, who has delivered in big spots all season. Gomes put up a solid at-bat and worked the count full, but he struck out swinging to end the threat.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Ryan Dempster is putting together a very good outing.

Dempster walked Adam Dunn in the sixth inning, but he was otherwise effective. The right-hander is now through six innings in what could potentially be his last start — depending on how Clay Buchholz’s situation shakes out.

Gordon Beckham struck out to begin the sixth. Dempster painted the outside black with a pitch to send him back to the dugout.

Alexei Ramirez, who was the subject of plenty of trade rumors before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, then drilled a liner to short. The sure-handed Stephen Drew snatched it out of thin air.

Dempster walked Dunn, who had struck out twice prior, with two outs. The righty ended the inning by getting Paul Konerko to hit a lazy pop up behind the second base bag.

End 5th, Red Sox 4-1: Jake Petricka did a nice job of settling things down for Chicago in the fifth inning.

Petricka, who recorded the final out of the fourth inning, retired the side in order in the fifth.

Mike Napoli grounded out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out and Stephen Drew flied out.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-1: The White Sox sliced into the Red Sox’ lead in the fifth.

Paul Konerko kicked off the inning with a double into the left field corner, and Avisail Garcia followed up with a single into left.

It then looked as if Jeff Keppinger was going to knock in Chicago’s first run. Keppinger hit a ground ball to the left side, and Middlebrooks fielded it while Konerko took off for home. Middlebrooks took a step toward first, but he eventually decided to fire home, at which point Konerko was caught up in no man’s land. Konerko was eventually tagged out by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Dayan Viciedo put the White Sox on the scoreboard, though. He singled into center field and Garcia scored from second base.

Josh Phegley got a good piece of one with one out, but Jacoby Ellsbury made another rangy play in right-center field for the second out.

Dempster ended the inning and stranded runners at the corners by getting Alejandro De Aza to ground out to short. Stephen Drew threw on the run to complete the out.

End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Jake Petricka closed out the fourth inning for the White Sox. But it wasn’t before some interesting developments.

Not only did Shane Victorino continue his hot streak with an RBI single, but David Ortiz also snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a two-out, two-run single into right-center field. The Red Sox are now in control 4-0.

Victorino has reached base safely three times in this game. He is 2-for-2 with two singles, a walk and two runs scored. Ortiz, who walked earlier in the contest, has reached safely twice.

John Farrell said before the game that Ortiz was trying to get his timing back. Seeing Ortiz beat the shift with a ball up the middle like he did in the fourth inning is encouraging.

Hector Santiago exited with two outs in the fourth inning. He gave up four runs on five hits while striking out three and walking five. The left-hander struggled mightily with his control, and he frequently missed inside. Santiago threw 101 pitches and only 52 strikes.

8:47 p.m., Red Sox 4-0: David Ortiz has snapped his hitless streak.

Shane Victorino gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead with an RBI single in the fourth inning, and Dustin Pedroia followed with a double into the left field corner to put two runners into scoring position for Ortiz.

Ortiz, who had been riding an 0-for-23 streak, came through with a two-run single into right-center field.

Jake Petricka is now taking over for Hector Santiago.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: While Hector Santiago tries to discover the strike zone, Ryan Dempster keeps rolling along.

Dempster tossed a 1-2-3 fourth inning, and he has now recorded 12 straight outs since walking the first two batters of the game.

Stephen Drew made a very nice play to open the fourth inning. Gordon Beckham drilled a line drive to the left side that looked destined for left field, but Drew made a lunging grab in the hole.

Alexei Ramirez then grounded to second base before Dempster struck out Adam Dunn for the second time.

End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Hector Santiago couldn’t find the strike zone in the third inning.

Santiago consistently missed inside — way, way inside on a few occasions — in the third. He walked two and hit a batter as the Red Sox posted the game’s first run.

Shane Victorino got the offense going with a one-out single, which turned out to be the Red Sox’ only hit of the inning. Santiago then walked David Ortiz before plunking Jonny Gomes in the knee area.

Santiago quickly fell behind Mike Napoli, 3-0, and he ended up missing with a 3-1 sinker inside to walk in a run.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia also found himself in a 3-1 count, but Santiago escaped the inning without any additional damage. Salty hit a sky-high popup in the middle of the infield, and third baseman Jeff Keppinger made the catch while dropping to his knees on the mound.

All things considered, it could have been much, much worse for the White Sox.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Ryan Dempster issued two walks in the first inning, but he has been sharp since.

Dempster tossed his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the third, and he has now recorded nine straight outs since the pair of free passes to open his outing.

Dayan Viciedo grounded down to Will Middlebrooks at third base to open the third inning. Josh Phegley then struck out, and Alejandro De Aza hit a soft liner at Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.

Dempster got Phegley fishing at a splitter down and out of the zone to pick up his third strikeout of the night.

End 2nd, 0-0: The second inning went one batter longer than it needed to for Hector Santiago.

Santiago recorded two quick outs by striking out Mike Napoli and retiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a flyout to center. The White Sox then turned in some sloppy defense to extend the inning.

Stephen Drew lifted a popup into right-center field with two outs. Center fielder Alejandro De Aza, second baseman Gordon Beckham and right fielder Avisail Garcia all converged on the shallow fly, but the ball dropped between the trio. Drew was awarded a hit, but better communication would have ended the inning.

Santiago made sure the mishap didn’t matter. He induced an inning-ending ground ball while facing Will Middlebrooks.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Ryan Dempster settled down nicely after a less-than-ideal first inning.

Paul Konerko started the inning with a line drive to center field that hung up long enough for Jacoby Ellsbury to make the grab.

Dempster then struck out Avisail Garcia, who was actually traded to Chicago as part of the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. Garcia went down hacking at a fastball.

Jeff Keppinger worked himself into a hitter-friendly 3-1 count with two down. Dempster avoided any trouble by getting him to roll a routine grounder to short.

End 1st, 0-0: Hector Santiago followed in Ryan Dempster’s footsteps. He also worked around two walks to toss a scoreless first inning.

Shane Victorino, who has been red-hot at the plate of late, followed Jacoby Ellsbury’s inning-opening strikeout with a seven-pitch walk. He then stole second base, although White Sox manager Robin Ventura came out to dispute the call.

Josh Phegley’s throw beat Victorino to the bag, but the tag was high. That allowed Victorino to get his foot in safely — or so it seemed.

Dustin Pedroia almost made it 2-0 in the first inning when he absolutely smoked a ball down the left field line. It sailed just foul, though, and Pedroia instead settled for a walk.

David Ortiz, who enters in the midst of an 0-for-22 slump, broke his bat while grounding to second base. Gordon Beckham bobbled it, but he ultimately had enough time to fire to third base, as Victorino froze for a second because he thought Beckham was going to field it in the air.

Jonny Gomes popped out in the infield to end the inning.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Ryan Dempster’s first game since Aug. 18 almost got off to a disastrous start. Instead, Dempster managed to keep the White Sox scoreless in the first inning.

Dempster walked the first two hitters he faced in the first inning, and he was forced to throw 13 pitches while doing so.

Alejandro De Aza walked on seven pitches to open up the game, and he subsequently stole second base. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throw down to second sailed into center field, but De Aza couldn’t advance any further.

Gordon Beckham then walked on six pitches, putting Dempster into a pickle right out of the gate. The right-hander caught a huge break, however, as Alexei Ramirez grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw.

Dempster ended the inning by striking out Adam Dunn — a man of many K’s.

7:13 p.m.: Ryan Dempster’s first pitch in 11 days is a strike.

5:15 p.m.: The lineup cards are in. Check them out below.

Red Sox (79-56)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Ryan Dempster, RHP (6-9, 4.77 ERA)

White Sox (56-76)
Alejandro De Aza, CF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Adam Dunn, DH
Paul Konerko, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF
Jeff Keppinger, 3B
Dayan Viciedo, LF
Josh Phegley, C

Hector Santiago, LHP (4-7, 3.25 ERA)

8 a.m. ET: When Ryan Dempster last took the mound, he became the center of controversy, as the veteran right-hander drilled Alex Rodriguez in the second inning of the Red Sox’ game against the Yankees on Aug. 18. Dempster will return to the hill Friday facing an uncertain future.

Dempster, who was handed a five-game suspension for plunking A-Rod, hasn’t pitched since the incident, but he has been working in the bullpen to fix his mechanics. Dempster has been struggling mightily of late, posting a 7.40 ERA over his last four starts, and he might be bounced from the rotation when Clay Buchholz returns. Right now, it looks like Buchholz could rejoin the rotation as soon as Sept. 10.

While Dempster’s future could reside in Boston’s bullpen, it’s still important for him to get on track. There’s certainly a place for him on the Red Sox, even if his role may soon be undefined. He’ll need to revert back to the pitcher who was a consistent presence, though, or else it’ll be hard to trust the 36-year-old down the stretch.

Dempster will go up against Hector Santiago on Friday in the first game of the Red Sox’ series against the White Sox. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. It should be a blast. If you miss it, you’ll regret it. So don’t.

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