Red Sox send Dempster to mound against Rays

Ryan Dempster tries to win his third straight start on Wednesday when the Boston Red Sox continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Dempster has won both of his starts since serving a five-game suspension for hitting New York's Alex Rodriguez and is 8-9 on the year with a 4.79 ERA. He beat the Detroit Tigers last Wednesday, but was not sharp, as he allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.

Luckily, though, the Red Sox scored 20 runs.

Dempster has faced the Rays 10 times and is 3-5 with a 3.94 ERA.

Tampa Bay will counter with righty Alex Cobb, who is 8-3 with a 2.99 ERA. Cobb did not get a decision in Seattle on Friday, as he surrendered four runs and seven hits in six innings. He also struck out five and walked a batter in his team's 6-4 loss.

Cobb is 2-2 in six starts versus the Red Sox with a 4.09 ERA.

Boston put even more distance between itself and the Rays in Tuesday's opener, as Clay Buchholz tossed five scoreless innings in his first start in more than three months to lead the Red Sox to a 2-0 win.

Buchholz (10-0) returned to the mound for the first time since June 8 and gave up three hits and one walk with six strikeouts. The 29-year-old right-hander had been sidelined by neck stiffness, but picked up right where he left off and won his fourth consecutive start dating back to May 22.

"To see him walk to the mound, I think it gave everybody a boost in confidence," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Buchholz.

Koji Uehara continued his recent string of dominance by posting a four-out save, his 19th of the season.

Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in runs for the Red Sox, winners in six of their last seven and owners of an 8 1/2-game lead over the Rays in the AL East.

David Price (8-8) fared well in defeat, allowing only two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts over eight full frames, for the Rays, who have lost four of five, but still hold the second wild card spot in the AL.

"We've got 19 games left, so you go now or we won't be hanging around in October," Price said.

The Red Sox are 11-6 versus the Rays this season.