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Closing Time: Dempster, Red Sox continue home pitching woes in blowout loss to Indians

05.23.13 at 10:46 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and his Indians team looked very much at home at Fenway Park while the current Red Sox squad looked completely out of sorts in a lopsided 12-3 contest.

Cleveland teed off against Sox starter Ryan Dempster and relievers Clayton Mortensen and Alex Wilson. With the 12 run (11 earned) yield, the Sox now have a 4.33 ERA at Fenway Park — a mark that ranks 10th among the 15 American League clubs, and that represents a stark departure from the team’s AL-best 3.45 road ERA. The result has been felt in wins and losses: The Sox are a somewhat modest 13-11 at home and 15-9 on the road. They’ve lost six of their last seven at Fenway, and for the first time since 2006, yielded 12 or more runs in consecutive home games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Starter Ryan Dempster turned in his third straight poor start and his second straight in which he a) struggled to find the strike zone and b) failed to go as many as five innings. Indeed, the 35-year-old logged a season-worst three innings while permitting four runs on five hits (one double, four singles) and four walks. He did strike out four.

In his last two starts, Dempster has now walked 10 batters in just 7 2/3 innings. This marks his first back-to-back outings of four-plus walks since 2011. Over his last three starts, he’s permitted 15 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings (10.66 ERA), with his ERA climbing from 2.93 to 4.69 in that time.

– The Red Sox were victims of their aggressiveness on the bases in the bottom of the third inning. With no outs and runners on first and second, third base coach Brian Butterfield elected to send Jacoby Ellsbury home from second on a sharp single to center. Cleveland center fielder Michael Bourn unleashed a strike to nab Ellsbury at the plate. One batter later, David Ortiz homered. The Sox have now run into eight outs at the plate, tied for the most in the American League. In fairness, it’s also worth noting that the Sox entered the day ranked second in the AL with 38 runs scored from second base on singles.

Mike Napoli dropped what appeared to be an easy pop-up in foul territory in the top of the sixth, his second whiff on a pop-up in the past 10 days. That played into a five-run inning in which the wheels rapidly came flying off of the Red Sox.

Clayton Mortensen had one of his worst outings since joining the Red Sox last year. He allowed five runs (his most with the Sox) in just two innings on five hits (one double, four singles) and three walks. His ERA jumped to 5.25 for the year. Interestingly, Mortensen has now gone five straight appearances without striking out a batter while walking six in 5 2/3 frames.

Will Middlebrooks exited the game with what team officials described as lower back spasms.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

David Ortiz continued his display of power and run production. He jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Indians starter Zach McAllister and blasted it over the visitors’ bullpen in right field for his eighth homer of the year, this one a three-run shot. Despite missing the first 15 games of the season, Ortiz now ranks in the top 10 in the American League in RBI (34), while his .351 average and 1.035 OPS would both rank in the top three in the AL if he had enough at-bats to qualify for the leaderboard.

Daniel Nava went 2-for-2 with a double, a single off the Wall and two walks. He’s now reached base multiple times in six of his last seven games, hitting .385/.469/.538 in that span.

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