Dempster's best start with Texas backed by bats

Dempster's best start with Texas backed by bats

Dempster's best start with Texas backed by bats
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers picked up where they left off in Toronto.

Ryan Dempster, who did not make the trip for the Rangers' three-game series against the Blue Jays last week, had arguably his best outing since being traded by the Cubs three weeks ago. He held the Orioles to one run and four hits over eight innings, tying a season high, as the Rangers won their third straight game, beating Baltimore, 5-1, on Monday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"Dempster was on," manager Ron Washington said. "He kept the ball down. He had a good slider, a good changeup, a good sinker. He got ahead. That's what he's capable of doing... He's not an overpowering guy. He has to execute his pitches and tonight, he executed."

Despite having runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning, the Rangers did not score until the fourth. David Murphy's bloop single brought home Adrian Beltre to tie the game at 1 before Geovany Soto's RBI single gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. After Mitch Moreland's single -- the Rangers' third straight hit -- Ian Kinsler extended the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly. Nelson Cruz provided an insurance run with an RBI double in the fifth, his 32nd of the year, which set a new career high, and the Rangers added a final run in the eighth on Murphy's second RBI single.

"Just like that, we're back on a bit of a roll," Murphy said. "That [bloop single] was a case where I was really lucky. It's not the best pitch to swing at in that situation, but some nights things go well. We hit some balls really hard right at guys, so it was nice that we finally caught a break."

Murphy went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, giving him four multihit efforts in his last five games. He has 10 hits in 19 at-bats over that stretch and is batting .417 over his last 10 games.

"He's been big for us for a while," Washington said. "Since the All-Star break, he's been swinging the bat extremely well, and that's why he's in the lineup. He's been getting a lot of big hits for us. This isn't anything that he hasn't done before. He gets tired and things don't go right, but right now, he's swinging a really good bat and it doesn't matter who's out there."

Nate McLouth doubled and scored in the first inning on an Adam Jones single that ricocheted off Moreland's glove. It would be the only run the Orioles scored in Monday's series opener as Dempster gave up just two hits, both singles, the rest of the night. The eight innings Dempster pitched marked his longest outing with the Rangers and the most innings he's pitched in more than two months.

"I was able to settle down after the first inning and execute pitches," Dempster said. "I had a good slider today. I haven't had that since I've been here. I worked hard in between starts to get that going and just tried to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate."

Pitching on six days rest, Dempster retired the last 11 batters he faced and 22 of the last 26. He is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two career starts against the Orioles, the last one coming in 1999, when he played for the Marlins.

"He has a track record of being a good pitcher," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He was a great addition for them. There weren't a lot of balls hit hard off him."

A native of British Columbia, Dempster was originally scheduled to start Saturday against the Blue Jays, but he did not travel to Toronto for personal reasons and was placed on the restricted list as Roy Oswalt took his turn in the rotation. Dempster is 2-1 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts with the Rangers this year, posting a 0.61 ERA in his two wins and a 13.50 ERA in the other two outings.

"I don't think his head was ever not clear," Washington said. "He wasn't tired. He wasn't shaken by anything. He was ready for his outing in Toronto, it just didn't happen. I think every pitcher can get relief from having some extra days, especially when you're in the grinding of a season. But even if he didn't get those days, I still think he would've done the same thing in Toronto."

After going 9-14 and scoring a Major League-worst 81 runs in July, the Rangers are 12-7 and have scored 105 runs in August, the second-most in the AL. They lead the A's by six games in the AL West and are 9 1/2 games ahead of the Angels.

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.