ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryan Dempster’s first start with the Rangers wasn’t the smoothest of debuts.
Roy Oswalt, the guy Dempster bumped from the rotation when he was traded to the Rangers, wound up getting the win Thursday. That’s not a good sign.
Neither is giving up eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, but Dempster was bailed out by a suddenly robust Rangers offense in a 15-9 win over the Angels.
“The most important thing was I kept the team in the ballgame and gave us a chance to win,” Dempster said. “I’m not really used to giving up eight runs and doing that. That’s quite an offensive outburst everybody put on today and a good win for us.”
Dempster said the heat wasn’t a factor — it was 102 degrees at first pitch – and neither was pitching in Rangers Ballpark, which had its infamous wind tunnel effect assisting a few fly balls.
“I just didn’t execute pitches like I could have. I just missed some spots today. When I did they made me pay for them,” Dempster said.
“It just came down to lack of execution on some pitches. It’s hot, but it’s been hot plenty of times when I’ve been pitching.”
Dempster was introduced to being an American League pitcher by giving up a double to Mike Trout to lead off the game.
Three batters later, Mark Trumbo sent a blast to right field and Dempster found himself down, 2-0, after his first half-inning pitching for the Rangers.
After a 1-2-3 second inning, Dempster struck out the first two batters he faced in the third inning. Then came back-to-back doubles and another run scored.
The big outburst came in the fourth when the Angels plated four runs on three hits. That turned a 6-3 Rangers lead into a 7-6 deficit.
Dempster gave up another run in the fifth and was pulled after walking Howie Kendrick with two outs.
In his first time ever to face the Angels, Dempster allowed nine hits including two homers and four doubles. He struck out six, but walked three.
“He started elevating the ball a little bit and tonight was one of those nights that if they got the ball up, especially to right field, it just didn’t come down,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “You know he had to go through some pretty good hitters. And they’re swinging the bat very well. We’ll see what happens the next time he takes the ball.”
Dempster said he sensed that was an important series for the Rangers, who lost the first two against the Angels then came back to win two and split the series. However, he said he doesn’t feel any added pressure as a deadline deal acquisition being dropped into a pennant race.
“For me the pressure’s always the same,” Dempster said. “You’re going to go out there and try to make pitches regardless of what the situation is. It really is that simple. It comes down to making pitches when you have to make them. Today I didn’t do a good job of that, but the guys bailed me out.”