David Ortiz registered two RBI and Ryan Dempster spun 6 1/3 solid innings, as the Boston Red Sox edged the Chicago White Sox, 4-3, on Friday in the opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park.
Ortiz snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a two-run single in the fourth, while Shane Victorino collected two hits, an RBI, and two runs scored for the Red Sox, who have won five of their last six games to maintain their lead atop the AL East.
"I've been doing this for a long time. You have players up here that are going to struggle longer than me. That is the way it is going to be. We all bounce back," said Ortiz.
Dempster (7-9), fresh off his five-game suspension for plunking Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five over 6 1/3 frames to earn the victory.
Koji Uehara recorded the final out of the eighth before retiring the White Sox in order in the ninth to secure his 15th save of the season.
Avisail Garcia scorched a solo homer and finished with two runs scored, while Dayan Viciedo added two hits, an RBI and a run scored for Chicago, which had won four of its last five games coming into the contest.
Hector Santiago (4-8) failed to make it out of the fourth and was tagged for all four runs on five hits and as many walks over 3 2/3 innings to absorb the loss.
"We're going to keep battling. We had some opportunities early and couldn't get anything out of it. They just kept scratching and clawing and Hector didn't seem to be too sharp," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
Santiago ran into control issues in the third, as Victorino smacked a one-out single before Ortiz worked a two-out walk. Santiago then plunked Jonny Gomes to load the bases for Mike Napoli, who walked on five pitches to plate the Red Sox's first run.
The Chicago southpaw evaded further damage by getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop out in the infield to end the inning, but the Red Sox tacked on three more runs in the fourth to send Santiago to an early shower.
Will Middlebrooks worked a one-out walk, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Victorino's two-out single to center to make it 2-0.
Dustin Pedroia followed with a double off the Green Monster before Ortiz snapped his lengthy slump with a two-run single to right to extend Boston's lead to 4-0 and chase Santiago from the contest.
Dempster, meanwhile, held the White Sox hitless over the first four frames, but served up a leadoff double to Paul Konerko to start the fifth before Garcia singled to left to put men on the corners.
Jeff Keppinger followed with a grounder to third baseman Middlebrooks, who fired home to retire Konerko for the first out.
Viciedo then ripped a single back up the middle to score Garcia from second to give the visitors their first run.
Garcia trimmed the margin to two with his leadoff blast in the seventh before Viciedo stroked a one-out single to end Dempster's outing.
Junichi Tazawa entered and flied out Josh Phegley, but Alejandro De Aza came through with a triple into the right-field corner to score Viciedo and make it a 4-3 game.
Tazawa got Gordon Beckham to fly out to center to leave De Aza stranded at third before grounding out Alexei Ramirez to start the eighth.
Franklin Morales took over on the mound and grounded out Adam Dunn before Uehara retired the final four White Sox in order to secure the victory.
Chicago had won each of Santiago's last four starts ... The White Sox finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base ... Boston batted 2-for-8 with RISP and left 10 men on base ... Victorino recorded his 18th stolen base of the season.