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BOS@BAL: Dempster gives up two runs over 7 2/3

Like many pitchers, starters Ryan Dempster and Jeremy Hellickson have a common goal entering Wednesday's outing.

The thing is, both are coming from completely different places.

Dempster is looking to build on a solid start Friday against the Orioles that saw him give up just two runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four batters in Boston's 2-0 loss.

The veteran could also use more run support. The Red Sox have scored just 13 runs in his seven losses.

"I felt better as the game went along, so that's always a good thing," Dempster said after his last start. "For me, it's not about me, it's about us as a team, and we're just trying to win games however we can get them. I felt good about my outing. I felt like I pitched well."

As for Hellickson, he is looking to rebound off a tough loss to the Royals in his worst start of the season. The right-hander was charged with eight runs on 10 hits in Thursday's loss, and he's now allowed at least five earned runs six times this year.

"I really can't explain what happened," Hellickson said. "Eight runs, [it's] kind of hard to fathom that even happening. I just have to move on and worry about tomorrow."

What's more, Hellickson has allowed double-digit hits twice this season and has given up three or more runs in an inning in eight of his 14 starts.

"The walks are down, which is a good thing," he said. "The last handful of games, I've been more aggressive than I have been. I just have to keep my pitch count down a little bit. Then I get to that sixth, seventh inning, I throw 30-40 pitches in an inning and I'm out of there. I just have to be more consistent throughout the whole game."

Rays: No timetable for Cobb
• It's unclear if Alex Cobb, who sustained a mild concussion when he was struck on the right ear by a line drive off the bat of Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer on Saturday, will pitch again this season.

"I don't know one way or the other," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We haven't even discussed that. Again, I think it's important that he gets to the next day and sees how he feels."

The Rays are not ready to announce who will replace Cobb in the rotation.

• Evan Longoria needs two RBIs to reach 500 for his career. He was back at third base for both games of Tuesday's doubleheader after missing four games battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

• The Rays trail the season series to the Red Sox, 8-2.

Red Sox: Napoli returns to lineup
• Mike Napoli, who missed three games in Baltimore last week due to illness, was back in the Red Sox's lineup batting fifth and playing first base in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Rays on Tuesday.

He went 1-for-3.

"Mike Napoli has obviously improved to the point of being in the lineup today," manager John Farrell said.

• Jose Iglesias has hit safely in a career-high 18 straight games, batting .422 with five doubles, a homer, five RBIs, eight runs and six walks. He also has multiple hits in nine of those games.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is tied with San Diego's Everth Cabrera for the Major League lead in steals with 31.

Worth noting
• The Red Sox have been in sole possession of first place or tied for the top spot in the division for 62 days this year.

• The Red Sox have outscored opponents, 96-64, this month. Comments