Run support continues to come at a premium for Ryan Dempster , and it's not helping his record.
He could especially use some offense from his Boston Red Sox teammates Tuesday night when they face the red-hot Michael Cuddyer and Colorado Rockies in the teams' first meeting at Fenway Park since Boston swept the 2007 World Series.
Dempster (4-8, 4.23 ERA) has lost three of five outings despite a 3.48 ERA, and he's recorded quality starts in each of his last four games in Boston. The most recent was a 6-2 loss against Tampa Bay on Wednesday as he gave up three runs over six innings.
"I just wish we were winning more of the games that I'm starting," Dempster said after Boston fell to 6-9 in his starts.
He's surrendered three or fewer earned runs in five of his eight losses, with the Red Sox providing him two runs or fewer in seven of those games. His run-support average of 5.44 is inflated by a 17-5 win over Texas on June 4. Excluding that game, his average would dip to 2.64.
The major-league low is 2.69 for Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.
"Seemingly, there's a guy on each staff that might be pitching on the wrong day, and that's probably the case with Ryan on a few occasions," manager John Farrell said. "That's something completely out of his control, but yet at the same time, we're in position to win almost every time he walks to the mound."
Dempster is 5-4 with a 7.83 ERA in 11 starts against Colorado.
The Rockies (39-38) scored 14 runs in back-to-back wins at Washington while totaling 25 hits, including a 7-6 victory Sunday. They scored seven runs during a five-game losing streak prior to those victories.
Cuddyer went 3 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs on Sunday to extend baseball's longest hitting streak this season to 21 games. He's two games shy of hitting coach Dante Bichette 's franchise record set in 1995.
Cuddyer already owns the club record for consecutive games on base with 40. The 34-year-old Cuddyer and 36-year-old Dempster have never faced off despite their careers spanning a combined 29 years.
Carlos Gonzalez , who left in the eighth inning Sunday due to a leg cramp but should be able to play Tuesday, is 5 for 9 with a homer and two doubles off Dempster. Todd Helton is 10 for 24 with three home runs.
Boston (45-33) has lost four of five after a 7-5 defeat at Detroit on Sunday. The Red Sox made two errors in the eighth inning, including a controversial one charged to Daniel Nava in right field. The second base umpire ruled that Nava dropped a fly ball, possibly while transferring it from his glove to his other hand.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio (4-3, 4.78) makes his first career start against the Red Sox looking to end a six-start slide without a victory. He's 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA during that stretch and gave up four runs - two earned - in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Toronto on Wednesday.
|June 23, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg cramps|
|June 14, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Fractured rib, right ribcage|
|June 13, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||Day-to-Day||Broken rib|
|June 13, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Bruised left foot|
|June 13, 2013||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Hand|
|June 11, 2013||Jorge De La Rosa||Day-to-Day||Cut on left middle finger|
|Boston Red Sox|
|June 23, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - back|
|June 22, 2013||Franklin Morales||Day-to-Day||Back|
|June 15, 2013||David Ross||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
|June 09, 2013||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|June 08, 2013||Clay Buchholz||Day-to-Day||Left game - neck stiffness|
BOSTON (AP) -- The run support Ryan Dempster lacked in his previous two starts came in abundance Tuesday night.
Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox backed Dempster with a season-high 20 hits, giving him an early cushion that kept getting bigger in an 11-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies .
Pedroia drove in four runs on three hits and a sacrifice fly. Mike Napoli added two RBIs and every Boston batter finished with at least one hit.
Jacoby Ellsbury , Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias had three hits apiece as the Red Sox built a big lead for Dempster after scoring just two runs in his past two starts combined.
Dempster (5-8) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, leaving with an 8-2 lead and picking up his first victory since June 9.
"We have an incredible offense. So you just go out there and worry about doing your job. It's just making pitches and executing pitches," Dempster said. "The wins come as a team more than an individual. That's all I care about is that when I start, we win the game. I want to give us a chance to win the game and was able to do that tonight. And we put up a lot of runs."
Dempster got himself in and out of trouble in the first, walking Dexter Fowler to lead off the game. DJ LeMahieu's attempt at a sacrifice bunt turned into an infield single as it rolled toward third base without a Boston player fielding it. Dempster got Carlos Gonzalez to pop out to third, then Michael Cuddyer grounded into a double play to end the threat.
"I thought the key was in the first inning," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Boston responded with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first and led the rest of the way.
The Red Sox had at least three hits in every inning until the fifth, when they finally went hitless but still got a runner on base on a two-out walk to David Ortiz . It was also the first inning in which Boston failed to score after roughing up Juan Nicasio (4-4) early.
"It's a good hitting club," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "You've really got to command your stuff with that lineup or they make you pay."
Wilin Rosario had three hits for the Rockies, including a solo homer in the second all the way out of Fenway Park. Michael Cuddyer extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games, longest in the majors this season, with a single in the fourth. He finished with two hits.
But those were the high points for the Rockies in a game that lasted 3 hours, 40 minutes.
Nicasio had his worst start of the season, lasting only 2 1-3 innings and allowing seven runs - six earned - on 12 hits. He walked two and struck out two. He had never allowed more than eight hits in a start this season and the Red Sox had that matched after two innings, taking a 5-1 lead with a pair of runs in the first and three more in the second.
"He looked like he struggled to find any rhythm or tempo tonight," Weiss said. "He was in bad counts and that's a tough lineup to get through when you're in bad counts. You're sitting in fastball counts and they know you're throwing your fastball, they don't miss it."
The Red Sox tagged Nicasio again in the third, ending his night after Pedroia's RBI single gave Boston 12 hits with two outs still to go in the inning. Adam Ottavino inherited runners at first and second, but got the Rockies out of the jam by striking out Ortiz and getting Napoli on a fly to center.
Boston added a run in the fourth after Stephen Drew tripled to center field on a hit he thought was a home run when it bounced high off the top of the wall. The umpires ruled the ball was in play and Drew was stuck briefly at third. The umpires spent several minutes looking at video replays before returning to the field and signaling that it was going to stay a triple.
Boston fans booed loudly at the call, but quickly forgot about it when Iglesias doubled to left and Drew trotted home to increase the lead to 8-2.
Nolan Arenado had three hits and an RBI for the Rockies.
Dempster's only glaring mistake came in the second inning on a 3-1 slider to Rosario, who drove it out of Fenway Park for his 12th home run of the season. The solo shot cleared the Green Monster in left field and all the signs above it, landing in a raised parking lot across the street.
"I didn't see it," Dempster said. "I think it hit a car on the turnpike, probably. It happens."
NOTES: The Red Sox topped their 19 hits in a 17-5 rout of Texas on June 4. ... The two-game interleague series wraps up Wednesday afternoon with RHP Roy Oswalt (0-1) facing Boston RHP John Lackey (4-5). ... Nicasio started the season 3-0, but hasn't won since beating San Francisco on May 19. ... Napoli's two RBIs gave him 52 before the midway point of his first season in Boston. ... The Red Sox optioned struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A Pawtucket before the game. Middlebrooks has hit .192 in 53 games for Boston this season, missing 16 with a lower back strain. ... The Red Sox also recalled right-hander Pedro Beato from Pawtucket after placing left-hander Franklin Morales on the DL with a strained muscle on the left side of his chest.