BOSTON (AP) — Ryan Dempster needed just three innings to walk four batters.
The lack of control is becoming a bad habit.
For his second straight start, wildness hurt him when the Boston Red Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians 12-3 as he left trailing 4-0 after three innings on Thursday night.
"My command has been terrible," he said. "I have walked 10 guys in the last nine innings. Bottom line is I've got to fix that. I can't get myself in that kind of trouble."
In his previous start, he walked six in 4 2-3 innings but wasn't involved in the decision in Boston's 12-5 win at the Minnesota Twins.
"Arm strength is fine and velocity is there," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Obviously, walks are what they are and they're high. Command of secondary stuff has been elusive for him. After two extended innings it was time to get him out of there."
Dempster (2-5) left after throwing 85 pitches.
"He threw a lot of pitches and left some over the plate," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "We didn't want to make too many mistakes against a club coming in hot."
Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn combined for nine hits and eight RBIs and the Indians had 16 hits in manager Terry Francona's return to Fenway Park.
"I tried to keep my emotions inside," said Francona, who led the Red Sox to two World Series championships in eight years. "I didn't want to be the main focus. You want to let the players play."
Francona, let go by Boston after the 2011 season, got an ovation after the first inning during a video display on the center-field scoreboard. He raised his left hand to the crowd and tapped his heart with his right.
"I was honored," he said.
And, perhaps, just a bit emotional.
"It was just neat to see the organization do that for him," Reynolds said. "I think I saw him teary-eyed a little bit during that thing. It was pretty neat and I was glad to be a part of it."
It was the fans' only chance to cheer for Francona. He didn't bring out the lineup card and didn't have to leave the visiting dugout during the game because all of Cleveland's pitching changes came at the start of an inning.
He had left Boston as the second-winningest manager, behind Joe Cronin, in club history.
In his first year as Cleveland's manager, he has the Indians in first place in the AL Central after they went 68-94 last season.
They're 22-9 in their past 31 games.
"They've got a good team and are in first place for a reason, not by accident," Farrell said.
The 12 runs are the most scored by the Indians in the park since June 28, 2005, and the most they scored there without a home run since 1953.
"Homers (have) been known to be rally killers," Reynolds said. "You keep having guys on base, it keeps the pressure on the pitcher and it makes him be precise."
Zach McAllister (4-3) allowed three runs in five innings. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts this year. Scott Barnes earned his first major league save by pitching three shutout innings.
"I think everyone wanted to go out there and get a win, not just for the team but for (Francona) also," McAllister said.
Every Cleveland starting batter had a hit and all except Jason Kipnis scored. Carlos Santana reached base five times with a single and four walks.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Stubbs and made it 4-0 in the third, scoring on a two-run single by Reynolds and a force play at second on a grounder by Mike Aviles.
The Red Sox cut that to 4-3 in the third on David Ortiz's eighth homer of the season, but wasted a chance for a bigger inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and took second on a walk to Daniel Nava. Dustin Pedroia then singled, but Ellsbury was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Bourn. Ortiz then hit the next pitch for his three-run homer.
Run-scoring singles by Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth and Bourn in the fifth made it 6-3 before the Indians scored six runs when they sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth.
They loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Cabrera, a single by Michael Brantley and a walk to Santana. Alex Wilson replaced Clayton Mortensen and gave up an RBI single to Reynolds. Yan Gomes followed with a two-run double after first baseman Mike Napoli dropped his foul pop for an error.
Aviles hit an infield pop for the first out, but Stubbs tripled in two runs and Bourn singled in another before Wilson struck out the next two batters.
Notes: Dempster had his shortest start of the season, lasting three innings. His previous shortest came in his prior start, 4 2-3 innings. ... The Indians recalled LHP Barnes from Triple-A Columbus and designated LHP David Huff for assignment. ... Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks left the game in the top of the fifth with lower back spasms. He was called out on strikes on both his at-bats before being replaced by Pedro Ciriaco. ... Cleveland's Nick Swisher missed his third straight game while on the paternity list. ... Justin Masterson (7-2) pitches for the Indians against John Lackey (2-4) in the second game of the four-game series on Friday night.
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