With Ryan Dempster on the mound and their longest slide of the season in the past, the Boston Red Sox are poised to continue their success at home.
Dempster tries to win his third consecutive start and help the Red Sox extend their home winning streak to seven games Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins.
After being held to four runs and 18 hits while being swept in a three-game set at Texas, Boston (21-11) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Minnesota 6-5 in 11 innings Monday at Fenway Park. Stephen Drew homered and doubled home the winner after closer Joel Hanrahan gave up a tying home run to Brian Dozier in the ninth, then left the same inning with tightness in his right arm.
"It was a good night," said Drew, who had four hits to raise his average from .182 to .225 - the first time it's been above .200 this season. "Everybody battles."
Among the majors' top teams with a 12-5 home record, the Red Sox have averaged 6.7 runs during their longest Fenway winning streak since a nine-game run July 5-24, 2011.
"We're just trying to have fun," Drew said.
Boston's Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia each homered and had three hits apiece. Pedroia, who homered for the first time since Sept. 11, is 4 for 8 in two games after going 0 for 13 in the previous three.
With a double Monday, ex-Twin David Ortiz is batting .430 during a 26-game hitting streak that dates to last season.
Dempster (2-2, 3.00 ERA), meanwhile, has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his last five starts, and three with eight hits over 12 innings of the last two. The right-hander gave up a leadoff homer to Toronto's Brett Lawrie and three other hits in six innings of a 3-1 road win Thursday.
"He doesn't give in,' manager John Farrell said of Dempster, who retired 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced. "He didn't have his best stuff overall (Thursday) but he uses the whole count when he needs to and he's got the knack to not let the game speed up on him and try to reach back and just go with sheer velocity.'
Pitching for the Chicago Cubs and Texas last season, Dempster went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Twins.
Dozier, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham each had two hits Monday for Minnesota (13-15), which has lost eight of 12.
"We had opportunities. They had some opportunities, and finally they get the big hit there,' said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team is 2-5 on a 10-game strip. "A tough ballgame for us.'
Dozier, Mauer and Willingham are a combined 1 for 22 versus Dempster.
Minnesota's Scott Diamond (2-2, 3.97) looks for a fourth straight strong start as he faces Boston for the first time. The left-hander, who opened the season on the disabled list while recovering from elbow surgery, gave up two runs and four hits in six innings of a 6-2 win at Detroit on Wednesday.
"I felt like I had a lot better stuff,' said Diamond, who has lasted at least six innings in three straight starts since going 4 1-3 frames in his season debut April 13. "(It) was a big step in the progression toward getting back.'
One day after Boston reliever Andrew Bailey was placed on the DL with a strained right biceps, Hanrahan will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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