BOSTON -- Ryan Dempster appears to be the odd man out of the Boston Red Sox rotation once Clay Buchholz returns from his long stay on the disabled list.
But Friday night, Dempster, pitching for the first time since being suspended for hitting Alex Rodriguez on Aug. 18, worked a solid 6 1/3 innings in leading the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Dempster, who served a five-game suspension for plunking A-Rod and was pushed back with extra time, won for the first time since July 27. He came in with a 6.81 ERA in his last six starts, a 7.84 in his last four. After working on some things in the bullpen during his downtime, he yielded three runs and five hits.
David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-23 dry spell with a two-run single for Boston and the sizzling Shane Victorino had two hits, an RBI and two runs to back Dempster (7-9).
Avisail Garcia had two hits, including his second home run in as many games for the White Sox. It was a solo shot leading off the seventh and Dempster was gone after a one-out single off the left field wall by Dayan Viciedo, who drove in the other White Sox run.
Junichi Tazawa relieved and got an out before Alejandro De Aza ripped a tripled that made it 4-3. After Franklin Morales got Adam Dunn for the second out of the eighth, Koji Uehara finished the game with a four-out save, his 15th save of the season in 18 chances. He struck out two in the ninth.
It was Uehara's 20th straight scoreless outing, covering 23 innings.
Ortiz, who also walked twice, matched his longest Red Sox hitless streak before delivering the big hit.
Left-hander Hector Santiago (4-8) threw 101 pitches, only 52 for strikes, and lasted just 3 2/3 innings in absorbing the loss, only the third in the last 13 games for the White Sox.
Dempster walked the first two batters of the game but got a double-play grounder out of Alexei Ramirez to escape any damage. He then retired the side in order in the next four innings.
The Red Sox also had two walks in the first and didn't score. Then, in the third, with a man on first and one out, Santiago walked Ortiz and hit Jonny Gomes before walking Mike Napoli to force in a run. On his 75th pitch of the night, Santiago got Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop up.
Victorino's RBI single set the stage for a Dustin Pedroia double in the fourth before Ortiz snapped his slump with a sharp grounder for two runs and the end of Santiago's night.
Paul Konerko doubled to lead off the Chicago fifth, the first hit off Dempster. Viciedo singled in a run with one out.
NOTES: Buchholz, out since June 8 with neck and shoulder trouble, made the second of what is slated to be three rehab starts on Friday night in Pawtucket. He threw 53 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, allowing a run and seven hits against Syracuse, striking out two and walking none. The plan is for him to work again next Wednesday, likely at Pawtucket. ... RHP Ryan Peavy, traded from the White Sox to the Red Sox before the July deadline, faces his former team on Saturday night, with LHP John Danks working for Chicago. ... White Sox starters came in with a 3.30 ERA in the last 16 games. ... The Red Sox reportedly were looking to add right-handed relief and backup middle infield help at Saturday's waiver deal trade deadline. "I don't think we're any closer than (Thursday)," manager John Farrell said Friday. "But as I mentioned then, if there's something that makes sense, I know Ben (GM Cherington) is willing to do that." ... Representatives from all the local college hockey teams were introduced on the field before the game. Fenway Park will host Frozen Fenway outdoor hockey games, a pair of double-headers in early January.