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Closing Time: Red Sox offense squanders strong effort from Ryan Dempster

06.14.13 at 9:51 pm ET

In Ryan Dempster’s last two starts, the Red Sox have backed him up with a combined total of 27 runs en route to two wins. That total matched the amount of run support the starter got through his first eight starts of the season.

However, the run support went dry Friday night, as the Orioles shut out the Red Sox 2-0 at Camden Yards. Boston only mustered three hits through the first seven innings, and spoiled a start in which Dempster only allowed four hits and walked three through seven innings pitched.

The Red Sox offense is in a bit of a slump right now, and has only totaled nine runs in its last four games. The drought comes after a stretch in which Boston had scored at least five runs in its last five games, and scored 17 runs in a game only 10 days ago.

Dempster did his part, turning in an 7 2/3-inning outing (122 pitches) in which he allowed two runs on five hits.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox:


– The Red Sox continued to have trouble with the home run king of the American League, as Chris Davis crushed a solo shot in the second inning. It was the third time a Red Sox pitcher allowed a home run to Davis in 24 plate appearances against him.

The home run was also part of a poor trend for Dempster, who has allowed five homers in his last three starts. The right-hander has allowed 15 long balls in 14 starts now, which is the second highest total in the American League. However, 13 of those 15 homers came with the bases empty, so Dempster has done a good job of limiting the damage caused by the home runs he has allowed.

– The offense continued to run dry for the Red Sox, as they only managed two singles — including one bunt single — through the first six innings against Chris Tillman. The Red Sox have not recorded a run since the top of the seventh inning Thursday.

– The bottom of the Red Sox order, which consisted of Will Middlebrooks and David Ross, did not have a good night at the plate,combining to go 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Each of them came up with runners on first and third in the top of the fourth inning, but Middlebrooks flied out to right before Ross struck out. Middlebrooks is 7-for-45 in his last 11 games with 14 strikeouts, while Ross is 3-for-28 in his last 11 games with 16 strikeouts.

Ross also allowed Nate McClouth to steal second in the bottom of the fifth, which was the 15th time he allowed a stolen base this season. Ross is typically good at catching runners trying to steal, as he has caught 36 percent of them this season. However, his throw was far too high for Iglesias to make the tag with, and would have went into center field if not for a great leaping grab.


– Jose Iglesias used a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 15 games in the top of the fourth inning. It was the third time this season that he had bunted for a hit. The 23-year-old, who started at shortstop for the first time since June 6, also led off the top of the seventh with an opposite-field line-drive double.

Iglesias was batting .440/.491/.580 in the previous 14 games in which he had recorded a hit, and finished Friday night batting .451.

– Daniel Nava made a great sliding catch in left field to help end the top half of the seventh inning. To go along with his hot bat this season, he has not made an error yet and is showing off his improvement in his all-around game.

– With the bases loaded and the Red Sox clinging to a two-run lead in the eighth inning, Koji Uehara came on with two outs to strike out J.J. Hardy to keep the visitors within a pair.

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