Red Sox take aim at rare season-opening sweep in New York

Ryan Dempster can ingratiate himself with Boston fans immediately on Thursday, as he tries to help the Red Sox complete a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Boston, which hadn't won two straight road games to start a season in New York since 1935, will be trying to go 3-0 for the first time since opening the 1999 campaign 5-0.

The Red Sox haven't started a season with three straight road wins in New York since 1912 when the Yankees were known as the Highlanders.

Boston has dominated the Yankees through the first two games of this series. On Thursday, Clay Buchholz threw seven strong innings and received plenty of offensive support in a 7-4 win.

Buchholz (1-0) held the Yankees to one run and six hits, as the Red Sox staked the right-hander to a comfortable 6-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings.

"It's always good to get off on the right foot," Buchholz said.

Boston pounded out 13 hits on the night, with Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Shane Victorino each collecting two while driving in a run.

Jacoby Ellsbury added a two-run single for the Red Sox, who got their 2013 campaign off to an excellent beginning with Monday's 8-2 triumph at Yankee Stadium.

Vernon Wells' three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth was one of few bright spots for New York, which lost starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to an injured right hand after being struck by a Victorino line drive in the top of the second.

Kuroda (0-1) was charged with two runs and surrendered four hits before being forced to exit with one out in the second.

Wells ended 3-for-4 for the Yankees, with Travis Hafner delivering a solo homer in the setback.

"We just have to do a little more than we did tonight," Wells said.

Now, the Red Sox turn to Dempster, who will be making his first start since signing a 2-year, $26.5 million deal this offseason. Dempster split the 2012 season with the Cubs and Rangers, posting a record of 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA in 28 combined starts.

"I know I've only been here for seven weeks, but I feel like I've been with these guys for a long time," said Dempster. "Everybody in here gets along really well. We've all bonded really well. It's just another start. Just go out there and do what I can and help us win a game."

He had spent his entire career in the National League before the July 31 trade to Texas, then struggled to a 5.09 ERA with a mark of 7-3 in 12 starts for the Rangers.

Dempster has never had any success versus the Yankees, going 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in five starts. In fact the Yanks are just one of five teams that Dempster has never beaten.

New York, meanwhile, turns to Andy Pettitte, who returned to the Yankees last season after a brief retirement and went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts. His return was interrupted by a broken leg, but still surrendered three runs or less in nine of his 12 outings.

Pettitte, who signed a 1-year deal this offseason, allowed just three runs in three regular season starts after the injury and was 0-1 in his two postseason starts.

Of course, the 40-year-old left-hander is no stranger to the Red Sox. In 39 games (37 starts) against them he is 18-10 with a 3.91 ERA.

Thursday's outing will also mark the 15th different season (1995-2003, '07-10, '12-13) Pettitte has made at least one start for the Yankees, tying Red Ruffing for second most in franchise history behind Whitey Ford (16).

The Yankees were 13-5 last season against the Red Sox.