BOSTON -- Ryan Dempster didn't think it'd take this long.
He was drafted on June 1, 1995, by the Texas Rangers but had to wait more than 17 years to register his first victory with them.
Dempster rebounded from a shaky debut last week and showed why the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline in leading them to a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
The Rangers maintain at least a five-game lead over the Angels in the American League West.
"It's awesome," said Dempster, who gave up eight runs over 4 2/3 innings in his Texas debut on Thursday.
"There are a lot of emotions going into the first start and I didn't do a good job of executing pitches. Today was a lot better than that. I'm glad to get out there and contribute from my end."
Dempster opened the game with six scoreless innings, and the tone was set in the first by the right-hander.
Carl Crawford had a one-out double, but Dempster caught Crawford too far off second and picked him off with a quick throw to Ian Kinsler. That saved a run, as Dustin Pedroia followed with a single to left.
In the second, Cody Ross led off with a double but Dempster retired the next three batters and went on to retire 16 of the next 18.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester matched Dempster for most of the night, allowing two singles through five innings. But the Rangers broke through in the sixth and seventh.
David Murphy delivered the Rangers' first extra-base hit with a double to start the sixth and scored on an RBI single by Kinsler. Two batters later, Josh Hamilton came through with an RBI single.
Texas extended its lead to 4-0 in the seventh. Michael Young drew a one-out walk, moved to third on Geovany Soto's hit-and-run and scored on a sacrifice fly by Murphy. Mike Olt then drew a walk, ending Lester's night. Kinsler had an RBI single off Boston reliever Mark Melancon.
"It was just a solid game offensively against a really good pitcher who had his stuff tonight," Murphy said. "Fortunately we got an incredible pitching performance out of Dempster."
The pitching gem by Dempster was almost spoiled in the bottom of the seventh, though. With two outs, Ryan Kalish sent a grounder to second that Kinsler booted.
Instead of ending the inning, it put runners at first and second for the Red Sox. The next batter, pinch hitter Will Middlebrooks, swatted the first pitch he saw from Dempster over the Green Monster to pull Boston to within 4-3.
Dempster was done after that, allowing three unearned runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. It was an outing that was more reminiscent of his season with the Cubs.
"This start he looked a lot more confident," said Soto, also acquired from the Cubs before the trade deadline in a separate deal. "In Chicago, he really got the ball down and really worked the corners. He showed that tonight."
The Rangers' bullpen made the lead stand, as the offense added one run in each the eighth and ninth.
Robbie Ross got the final out of the seventh, Mike Adams worked around a two-out double in the eighth and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
Manager Ron Washington called it a good bounce-back victory for the Rangers, who lost 9-2 on Monday.
"Dempster was outstanding," Washington said. "Dempster didn't bend first, Lester did. When he bent, we put some runs on the board and Dempster held it up. The bullpen came in and did the rest."
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760