BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster received plenty of support from his manager Wednesday night. What would really help is if he got a little more help from Boston’s hitters.

Dempster allowed three runs over six innings, but lost for the fourth time in six starts as the Red Sox mustered just seven hits in a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I just wish we were winning more of the games that I’m starting,” said Dempster, who fell to 4-8 after allowing eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. “That’s all I care about, is the day I pitch that we win and we’re not winning those right now.

“So just got to keep working hard, keep trying to make better pitches and get better every time out, and go out there and give us a chance to win.”

A little offense would help.

Dempster has allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of his eight losses this season, tied with the Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Wilson for the most such losses in the American League.


Boston has backed Dempster with two runs or less eight times in his 15 starts.

“Seemingly, there’s a guy on each staff that might be pitching on the wrong day, and that’s probably the case with Ryan on a few occasions,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That’s something completely out of his control, but yet at the same time, we’re in position to win almost every time he walks to the mound.

“He’s going to throw the ball over the plate, he’s going to make the opposition beat us and he’s been a source of dependability for us.”

Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes had two hits apiece for the Red Sox, who lost for the second time in five games, but still lead Baltimore by 1½ games in the AL East.

Desmond Jennings homered and top prospect Wil Myers recorded his first career RBIs for Tampa Bay, which won for the first time in six games this season at Fenway Park.

The Rays had scored a total of five runs in losing their first five games this season, including a doubleheader sweep Tuesday during which they managed a pair of runs on 10 combined hits.


Jose Molina and Evan Longoria had three apiece in Tampa Bay’s 15-hit attack and the Rays ended a three-game losing streak with their second win in eight games.

After going a combined 1 for 7 in his extended major league debut during Tuesday’s doubleheader, Myers delivered a two-run double during Tampa Bay’s three-run seventh that broke the game open.

Rays pitchers retired 16 of the last 18 batters of the game, yielding one hit over the final five frames.

“Offensively, other than Gomes’ two base hits, basically on the infield and the two RBIs, that was the extent of it tonight,” Farrell said.

Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) surrendered two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Jennings hit his ninth homer with one out in the first, depositing Dempster’s sixth pitch of the game into the seats above the Green Monster in left field. The Rays made it 2-0 when Ben Zobrist singled, moved to third on a base hit by Longoria and scored on a sacrifice fly by James Loney.


Boston cut it to 2-1 in the second when David Ortiz led off with a double to deep center and later scored on an infield single by Gomes.

Longoria nearly saved a run in the fourth on a liner by Gomes, but the third baseman couldn’t squeeze the ball in his outstretched glove, allowing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to trot home and tie the game.

Dempster retired seven straight before Molina singled to open the fifth and scored on a base hit by Zobrist that put the Rays back on top for good. Longoria added an RBI single off reliever Craig Breslow in the seventh that made it 4-2.

NOTES: Boston C David Ross is headed to Pittsburgh on Thursday to be examined by a concussion specialist. Ross is currently on the seven-day concussion DL. … Red Sox RF Shane Victorino got the day off. … TheRed Sox on Wednesday signed their first-round draft pick, LHP Trey Ball, the seventh overall selection. … The Rays continue their seven-game road trip Thursday when they visit Yankee Stadium for the first time this season. It will be the 2,500th game in Tampa Bay history. … Red Sox RHP Alfredo Aceves was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night after earning the win in the first game of the doubleheader. … Boston 3B Jose Iglesias went 0 for 2, ending his career-high 18-game hitting streak.

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