The right-hander looks for a fourth consecutive win Wednesday night when the AL West-leading Rangers try to bounce back from their latest loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Dempster (4-1, 4.58 ERA) went 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in his first three starts after Texas acquired the veteran from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. Though it took some time, Dempster finally appears to be settling in with his new club - he's given up three earned runs, 14 hits and struck out 20 over 20 innings in winning his last three starts.
He gave up one run, two hits and struck out seven in six innings of a 5-3 win at Cleveland on Friday."He's been around," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He knows how to pitch. He uses both side of the plate. He's a veteran guy."
Dempster is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts versus the Royals - both at Kauffman Stadium. The most recent June 24, 2011, when he gave up four runs - two earned - in six innings while not factoring in the decision of the Cubs' 6-4 victory.
He'll try to help the Rangers (80-55) rebound after Kansas City handed them a 6-3 loss Tuesday to even this four-game set. Elvis Andrus homered and Josh Hamilton added two hits as Texas lost for only the fifth time in 17 games. The Rangers led 2-0 after two innings and had Hamilton at the plate in the third, but Ian Kinsler was picked off third base.
"After Kinsler got picked off at third base, we didn't do much else after that," manager Ron Washington said. "One play didn't change this game. We just didn't score any runs."
The Rangers might have a good chance to get back on track against Kansas City's Everett Teaford (1-3, 4.30), who makes his first start since July 8 on Wednesday after manager Ned Yost decided to skip rookie Will Smith 's turn in the rotation.
Teaford, whose season has included time in the minors and a stint on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain, has made his last eight appearances out of the bullpen. He's 1-1 with a 6.20 ERA in four starts this season.
Though the left-hander is making his first start against the Rangers, he threw 1 2-3 scoreless innings of relief versus Texas during his first major league season in 2011.
It's likely Teaford will not be extended too much in this contest with fellow reliever Vin Mazzaro expected to replace him rather early in the evening. Mazzaro is 3-3 with a 5.60 ERA in 10 games this season, and 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in four career appearances versus Texas.
Alex Gordon had two hits, including a two-run homer, Tuesday as the Royals (61-74) improved to 4-3 against the Rangers in 2012. Gordon is batting .388 (19 for 49) with two homers and 13 RBIs in his last 12 games.
He is 2 for 3 lifetime versus Dempster.
|September 02, 2012||Ian Kinsler||Day-to-Day||Lower back stiffness|
|August 31, 2012||Tyler Tufts||15-Day DL||Surgery, perforated bowel|
|August 30, 2012||Robbie Ross||15-Day DL||Strained left forearm|
|August 28, 2012||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
|August 11, 2012||Mike Napoli||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps|
|Kansas City Royals|
|August 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|August 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - fractured left thumb|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers figure they'll be just fine if they keep focusing on themselves.
That's why the AL West leaders were lounging on black leather sofas in the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, hours before playing Kansas City, and stifling laughter as they watched comedian Robin Williams do a stand-up routine on television.
Rather than watching, say, second-place Oakland's game against the Los Angeles Angels .
"Those guys aren't worrying about that," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If we take care of our business, it doesn't matter what they do."
Well, the Rangers certainly took care of their business. Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer, Michael Young also went deep and Texas held on for a 7-6 victory over the Royals to open a five-game lead in the division after the A's lost their matinee.
Ryan Dempster (5-1) gave up RBI doubles to Billy Butler in the first inning and Salvador Perez in the sixth, but was otherwise stingy for the Rangers. He only allowed two other hits in six sharp innings, striking out eight to win his fourth consecutive game.
"You know, I was in a situation where I was pitching for pride," said Dempster, acquired in a July 31 trade with the Chicago Cubs . "Now I'm just trying to do my best every fifth day."
Beltre's homer came off Everett Teaford (1-4), who was making his fifth start of the year. Young's solo shot came off Vin Mazzaro during a three-run seventh.
The runs proved handy when Kansas City mounted a late comeback. Alcides Escobar 's RBI single off Joe Nathan put the potential tying run on first with two outs in the ninth, but Alex Gordon flied out to end the game. It was Nathan's 27th consecutive save.
Ian Kinsler , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz also drove in runs to help the Rangers (81-55) move a season-high 26 games above .500, and assure a club-record fourth straight season of .500 or better.
The 28-year-old Teaford was called upon to make his first start for Kansas City since July 8, when he allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings at Detroit. He's been exemplary in long relief - he threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings last Saturday against Minnesota - but less effective as a starter.
That proved to be the case again Wednesday night.
Kinsler led off the game with a single, and after Andrus went down swinging, Josh Hamilton walked to put runners on first and second for the hottest hitter in the Texas lineup.
Beltre calmly waited for a 1-2 pitch from Teaford and sent it soaring over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, his 29th of the season. The ball landed just shy of the fountains.
"That's what I'm supposed to be doing," Beltre said demurely.
The slugging third baseman also tripled and scored in the eighth, giving him 10 homers, seven doubles and two triples since Aug. 20. Beltre has scored 15 runs and driven in 20 in that stretch.
"I saw his charts yesterday and the whole chart was like, red against lefties. It's basically a heat map. Red would describe Kansas City in July, that kind of hot," Teaford said. "If you make a bad pitch, he hits it real well. He's tough. You've just got to hope to make good pitches."
The Royals clawed back with runs in the first and sixth, but Texas added three in the seventh, the homer by Young starting things off. Kansas City added two more runs in the bottom half to keep it close, and the teams traded runs in the eighth before Nathan held on through a shaky ninth.
The veteran closer has 28 saves in 29 chances this season.
"We played catch-up all night, and when we'd get close they'd tack on," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The three-run seventh did us in."
NOTES: Butler tied a career high with three doubles. ... Royals 1B Eric Hosmer stole two bases. He has 14 on the year. ... Rangers LHP Robbie Ross (strained left forearm) returned to Texas to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister. If he's cleared, Ross could begin a throwing program Thursday. ... RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.01 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday night for Texas. RHP Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.34) goes for Kansas City.