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LAA@BOS: Dempster earns fourth win of the year

Just win the series.

Many teams adopt the mantra, but no club has executed it better than the Orioles and Red Sox this season.

The squads, who will play the second contest of a four-game set Friday, have each won 14 series this season, tied with St. Louis for tops in the Majors Leagues.

The Red Sox have won their last four series and have done no worse than a split in their last seven sets (five wins and two splits).

But the Orioles have had Boston's number lately. They've won five consecutive series against the Red Sox, and eight of the last nine dating back to Sept. 19, 2011.

After winning, 5-4, in 13 innings Thursday, Baltimore is 2 1/2 games back of the Sox for first place in the American League East.

Though the Orioles struck first, the Sox will still aim to take the set.

"That's your goal," Friday's Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster said. "You're not going to sweep every series, you're not going to win every game, but … you know going in you have a chance to [win the series]."

Dempster sealed the deal in Boston's last series, a three-game set against the Angels. In his third straight quality start, he threw six innings of three-run baseball to earn the win in the series finale. Some groin pain plagued Dempster through much of May, but as his health has improved, so has his performance. He's posted a 3.60 ERA over his last three starts.

"When he's able to leverage the ball and throw the ball downhill ... this is what he's capable of doing," Boston manager John Farrell said.

Dempster will face Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman, which has typically been a good sign for the Orioles. Of the 13 games Tillman has started this season, Baltimore has won nine of them, including each of the last four.

Tillman has had much more success away from the friendly confines of Camden Yards, though. He has a 6-2 record with a 3.89 ERA on the season, but he's just 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA at home.

Red Sox: Buchholz could pitch Tuesday
Clay Buchholz won't pitch until Tuesday at the earliest.

Still recovering from neck soreness stemming from an awkward throw to first base during his last start, Buchholz threw with some "slight improvement" Thursday. Buchholz missed a start in late May due to irritation in his AC joint, which is located near the collarbone and the two injuries could be related.

"Clay threw again today, with some slight improvement," said manager John Farrell. "There's still some soreness in that neck muscle, the base of the muscle, but everything in the AC joint is free and clear."

Though Buchholz could pitch Tuesday, Farrell made it clear the club will proceed with caution with the young right-hander.

"As we've stated before, we're going to make sure there are no symptoms felt," Farrell said. "So we're targeting more like Tuesday. This is basically two additional days. I wish I could say it's going to be a concrete thing for Tuesday, but we feel like two additional days will be [enough] time to get over the soreness. But we won't put him out there until he's symptom free."

Orioles: Chen on road to recovery
Wei-Yin Chen is scheduled to throw off a regular mound Saturday for the first time since injuring his left oblique.

The Orioles' starter, who hasn't appeared in a game since May 12, threw off a half-mound with no issues on Thursday.

If the session goes well Saturday, Chen could begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

"At some point him and [pitching coach Rick Adair] will decide when he needs to go out and pitch [for an affiliate]," manager Buck Showalter said of Chen, who will travel with the Orioles to Detroit and Toronto next week. "Hopefully sometime during that trip."

Worth noting
• Baltimore has not lost consecutive games to Boston in the last 31 meetings between the teams, in which the Orioles are 22-9.

• The Orioles have given up the most home runs in the Majors entering Friday (95).

• Dustin Pedroia has reached safely in 22 straight games. Overall, he's reached safely in 63 games this season, the most in the Majors.

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