Dempster, Ross propel Red Sox past Astros 7-3

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BOSTON — The Red Sox scored early and often once again Friday night in their 7-3 win over the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. With the win the team has 16 for the month of April, and if it wins its next two games they will tie the club record for wins in April, 18 (1998 and 2003).

They scored runs in each of the first six innings, forcing Houston starter Erik Bedard from the game after 3+ innings. Bedard allowed five runs on eight hits, including three home runs. Seven of the eight went for extra bases as well. In total the team recorded 17 hits, the most in a game since last July.

“I thought we had an excellent approach against Bedard,” manager John Farrell said. “Considering the number of pitches he threw through three plus innings, we were able to get into their bullpen fairly early again tonight. When we got some fastballs around the plate we did a very good job of driving the baseball. Considering 17 hits, and I don’t want to say it could have been a little bit more runs total, but just an overall very good approach tonight at the plate.

David Ross led the charge with two solo home runs, one in the second and one in the third, both clearing the Green Monster. He and Will Middlebrooks combined to go back-to-back in the third. David Ortiz added his second in as many nights, homering to dead center in the fifth.

Ross had four hits, while Dustin Pedroia had three, including two doubles. Jacoby Ellsbury collected two hits, and stole his 200th career base of his career, Mike Napoli belted two doubles and Middlebrooks added a single to go along with his homer all in the win. Napoli now holds the Red Sox record for most doubles and extra-base hits in the month of April.

Starter Ryan Dempster picked up his first win of the season going six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while walking three and striking out ten. The ten strikeouts tied a season-high, and now has 43 total strikeouts on the year, second in the majors. He’s now struck out seven or more hitters in each of his 13 starts, dating back to August of last year.

Clayton Mortensen (one run), Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Alex Wilson combined to pitch three innings of one-run ball in relief of Dempster.

The teams will be back at it tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) when Felix Doubront takes to the hill for Houston and will be opposed by Brad Peacock.

What they’ll be saying: The 17 hits, including four home runs were a welcomed sign from the Red Sox offensive, a team which ranks in the bottom third of the American League in home runs. Quite honestly they should have put up more than seven runs on the board if they could have gotten one or two more timely hits, but no complains when you win and have 17 total … Ortiz and Napoli continue to impress in the No. 4 and 5 spots in the order. Ortiz has hit in 18 straight games overall dating back to July 2 of last year and Napoli is breaking a few Red Sox records with his extra-base hits and now is only four RBIs shy of the club record for the month of April of 31.


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