By Rick Eymer
---- — SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks each hit a home run, Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in two runs apiece and the Boston Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants 12-1 on Wednesday.
Felix Doubront (9-6) rebounded from a tough outing to pitch eight strong innings for the Red Sox, who have won three of five and entered play in a virtual first-place tie with Tampa Bay in the AL East. Doubront gave up one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Joaquin Arias homered among his two hits for the Giants, who have lost three of four.
Barry Zito (4-9) lasted 3 2-3 innings in his first start since July 30. He allowed six runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out three.
Jacoby Ellsbery and Shane Victorino each had three hits for Boston, with Victorino driving in a run. Ellsbery scored twice and got his league-leading 46th stolen base. Dustin Pedroia added two hits and drove in a run.
Doubront, who allowed seven runs in four innings in his last start, has allowed three runs or fewer in 17 of his last 18 outings. After giving up Arias’ homer in the second, Doubront retired 14 of the next 15 hitters.
The Giants have allowed 10 runs or more in four interleague games, their most in any season.
Zito, the 2002 Cy Young winner, is 0-25 in 29 games in which he has allowed six or more runs in a San Francisco uniform. He never allowed more than six runs in a game with the Oakland Athletics.
Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz left Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning because of tightness in his lower back.
“It’s just general soreness,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the Red Sox beat the Giants 12-1. “He’s played first base two of the last three days and he’s not used to it.”
Ortiz was hitless in three at-bats in Boston’s win on Wednesday, striking out his last two times at the plate. He came out of the game following the top of the fifth inning and was replaced by Mike Napoli.
“With the lead I thought we could get him off his feet and protect him,” Farrell said.
Ortiz entered the day batting .323 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs. The Red Sox have a day off before opening a series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
NOTES: Doubront has given up one run in 15 innings against the NL West. ... Red Sox INF David Ortiz left the game with lower back tightness after striking out in the fifth. ... RHP John Lackey (8-10, 3.22 ERA) will start for Boston when it opens a series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Friday night. ... Zito owns a career mark of 5-7, with a 5.52 ERA, in 15 games against the Red Sox. ... RHP Matt Cain (8-8, 4.35) will start for the Giants on Thursday night against Pittsburgh. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in all 15 of Boston’s interleague games and is batting .435 (28 for 64) against NL clubs.