BOSTON (AP) - Ryan Dempster's 10 strikeouts were nearly overshadowed by the offensive support his teammates provided in his first win as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Boston had 17 hits, including nine for extra bases, in a 7-3 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night as the Red Sox continued one of the best opening months in team history.
Backup catcher David Ross cleared the Green Monster twice with solo home runs, ending an 0-for-12 slump with his first 4-for-4 game.
``It seems like with this team, it's been somebody else every night. I'm excited to be part of this team,' said Ross, one of several offseason acquisitions that have the Red Sox to their best start in 11 years.
Another newcomer is Dempster (1-2), who struck out 10 for the second time in five starts for Boston. He allowed two runs and four hits over six innings.
``He had like a `Bugs Bunny' splitty tonight,' Ross said. That thing was really working good on some of those guys. It was like some Nintendo stuff going on out there.'
Dempster said was more excited about getting his first win for the Red Sox.
``Strikeouts are overrated. I'm just trying to get outs. I'll take them however I can get them,' Dempster said.
David Ortiz homered for the second straight night and Will Middlebrooks led off the fourth for Boston with a home run, which Ross followed with his second straight shot out of the ballpark altogether.
``The way I've been swinging, I'm just aiming to try and see the ball and get a hit,' Ross said.
Boston (16-7) is two wins short of tying the club record for the month with three games remaining.
Erik Bedard (0-2) allowed five runs and eight hits over three innings for Houston. The Astros lost for the fifth time in seven games and fell to 0-5 at Fenway Park.
``It's always tough when your starter does not go deep into the game and you go into your bullpen early,' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ``You're behind the 8-ball and behind in the game as well. At some point we're going to need these to start going deep into the game.'
Jose Altuve drove in two runs for the Astros, who finished with just seven hits and were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Red Sox had at least two hits in every inning except the fifth, when the Astros held Boston to just one. It happened to be Ortiz's shot to straightaway center that put the Red Sox up 6-2.
Boston's Mike Napoli hit a pair of doubles, bringing his season total to 13.
Notes: Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury stole the 200th base of his career when he took second after hitting a two-out single in the sixth. ... Ortiz has hit safely in all six games since he came off the DL last weekend and has an 18-game hitting streak dating back to last July. ... Houston OF Justin Maxwell will miss approximately four to six weeks after fracturing his fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch on Tuesday against Seattle. ... The Red Sox are 12-0 when scoring first this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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