Dempster leads the way as Rangers handle O’s

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryan Dempster said last month
after he was traded to the Texas Rangers that if you make your pitches, it
doesn’t matter if you’re pitching in the National League or the American
League.

Monday night the Texas right-hander went out and did just that.

Dempster, who allowed eight runs in his only other start at Rangers Ballpark,
pitched eight innings of four-hit ball as Texas opened a 10-game homestand with
a 5-1 victory over Baltimore.

The Rangers have now won three consecutive games and reached a season-high 21
games over .500 for the third time this year.

Dempster (2-1) allowed a run in the first on a pair of hits that were nearly
outs and then sailed from there. He struck out six and walked two in his
111-pitch start and now has a 0.61 ERA in his two victories with Texas.

“That was nice,” said Dempster, who had his start pushed back two
days for personal reasons. “I was able to settle down after the first
inning and make pitches, execute pitches. I had a good slider today and I
haven’t had that the entire time I’ve been here yet. We worked hard between
starts to get that going and I tried to keep the ball off the middle of the
plate and was able to do that.”

Dempster had almost no trouble after the first. The Orioles didn’t get a runner
past second after the first inning and Dempster retired 22 of the final 26
batters he faced, including the final 11. The two times Baltimore had a runner
in scoring position after the first inning came with two outs.

“That’s what he’s capable of doing,” Texas manager Ron Washington
said. “He’s not an overpowering guy. He has to execute his pitches, and
tonight he executed. As long as he does that, he’ll be fine.”

The Rangers offense was also fine Monday after they got a look at Baltimore
right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. Texas missed out on a scoring opportunity in the
first inning but got to Gonzalez for three runs in the fourth inning.

David Murphy’s single to left-center tied the game at 1 and Geovany Soto
followed with a single to left to put Texas up 2-1. Ian Kinsler added a
sacrifice fly.

While that was more than enough support for Dempster, the Rangers added another
run in the fifth on a Nelson Cruz double and a run in the eighth on another RBI
single from Murphy.

Murphy had two hits and is batting .526 over his last five games with six RBI.

“It’s fun to play games like this,” Murphy said. “That’s what
major league baseball is for the most part. We got a great performance out of
Ryan Dempster. That’s exactly the type of guy he is. He pounded the strike
zone. Once we got him a little bit of a lead, you could tell he did it even
more so. It was great to see him get quick early outs. Just like that we’re
back on a little bit of a roll.”

Dempster has thrived with run support all season, going 6-1 in the nine starts
where he’s received at least four runs.

“Your objective is always the same thing, to execute pitches no matter
what the score is,” said Dempster, who took advantage of the extra time
off by throwing an additional bullpen session. “Any time you’re ahead in
games like that and you have a little bit of cushion, when you get behind in
the count you feel like you can challenge a little bit more because you know
solo home runs can’t hurt you. We have such a great offense, night in, night
out, they’re putting up big numbers.”

Dempster was close to needing just one run Monday. Baltimore scored its lone
run with a two-out rally in the first. Adam Jones doubled to right on a ball
that Cruz had trouble locating. Matt Wieters followed with an RBI single that
skipped off the top of Mitch Moreland’s glove.