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.