TORONTO - By his own admission, Ryan Dempster didn't have his best stuff -- or best command -- in his start against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday night.
What he did have, however, was good enough.
Dempster allowed a leadoff homer in the first to Brett Lawrie, then didn't allow another run over six innings, picking up his second straight win as the Red Sox beat Toronto, 3-1.
"I was struggling to find it early on for the first few innings,'' said Dempster, "and was I able to get the ball down and make some pitches. The leadoff homer kind of woke me up a little bit and I was able to make some pitches.''
Dempster's biggest challenge came in the third when he walked the bases full with one out. Hot-hitting Edwin Encarnacio came to the plate, but Dempster was able to get him to hit into an inning-ending double play.
After that, Dempster seemed to find himself, retiring 10 of the last 11 hitters he faced.
"I felt like (before that) I was picking a little bit, trying to be too fine,'' offered Dempster, ''instead of getting back on the aggressive and taking advantage of their aggressiveness early on. They were coming after me and I maybe got away from the strike zone more than I wanted to. I was able to get it back it in and start making pitches.''
"He doesn't give in,'' said John Farrell of Dempster. "He didn't have his best stuff overall tonight, but he uses the whole count when he needs to...Veteran presence and experience shines through in those situations.''
The win was of special significance for Dempster, too, since it marked the first time he had pitched in his native Canada in more than a decade.
"I always enjoy pitching back here,'' he said. "It's coming home and pitching in your country is always a fun thing. I've never had a chance to pitch (in Toronto). It was fun to get out here and pitch in the Rogers Centre. I grew up (in British Columbia) watching the Blue Jays in the SkyDome, so it was a lot of fun.''