BOSTON – Ryan Dempster returned from his suspension for hitting Alex Rodriguez and pitched into the seventh inning, leading the Boston Red Sox over the Chicago White Sox 4-3 Friday night for their fifth win in six games.
David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a two-run single for the AL East leaders.
Dempster (7-9), penalized five games for plunking Rodriguez on Aug. 18, held Chicago hitless through the first four innings. He allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Koji Uehara struck out two in the ninth for his 15th save in 18 opportunities. He worked 1 1/3 innings in his 20th straight scoreless appearance.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third on a bases-loaded walk to Mike Napoli. They made it 4-0 in the fourth when Will Middlebrooks walked, stole second and scored on Shane Victorino’s single. Ortiz followed two batters later with his two-run single off Hector Santiago (4-8).
Dempster struck out five and walked three. He walked the first two batters of the game, then got Alexei Ramirez to ground into a double play and struck out Adam Dunn.
Dempster’s next three innings were perfect, with only one of the nine outs getting beyond the infield. But then he ran into trouble in the fifth.
Paul Konerko led off with a double, Chicago’s first hit. He took third on a single by Avisail Garcia but was out at home on a fielder’s choice grounder. Dayan Viciedo then singled home Garcia.
The White Sox cut the lead to 4-3 in the seventh on Garcia’s fourth homer of the season, a single by Viciedo and a triple by Alejandro De Aza.
NOTES: Jon Danks (4-10) pitches Saturday for Chicago against Jake Peavy (10-5) in the second game of the three-game series. … Chicago shortstop Ramirez returned to the starting lineup after missing his first game of the season. … The Red Sox allowed three runs or less for the 10th straight game. … Chicago’s six-game road winning streak ended. … Boston left the bases loaded in the third and sixth innings. … Chicago acquired Garcia from Detroit on July 30 in the three-team trade that sent Peavy to Boston.
CLAY BUCHHOLZ pitched 3 1/3 innings Friday night for Triple-A Pawtucket in his second of three scheduled minor league rehab starts.
Buchholz threw 53 pitches (34 strikes), allowing one earned run on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts against the Syracuse Chiefs at Pawtucket, R.I.
Buchholz is on track to return to the Red Sox on Sept. 10 against Tampa Bay.