Poor Giants' defense leads to Red Sox win
SAN FRANCISCO — Defensive lapses by the San Francisco defense helped Boston score four runs in the third and fourth innings, and Will Middlebrooks added to Barry Zito's demise with a two-run home run as the Red Sox earned a series win over the Giants with a 12-1 victory Wednesday afternoon.
Jacoby Ellsbury raised his interleague average this season to .438 with three hits as the Red Sox sandwiched Tuesday's late-game collapse with a pair of wins that improved their record against National League teams to 11-4.
Left-hander Felix Doubront (9-6) ran his career mark in interleague games to 5-1 with eight innings of five-hit ball. He surrendered the Giants' only run in the second inning on a solo homer by Joaquin Arias.
Counterpart Zito couldn't finish the fourth, leaving after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks. The damage wasn't entirely his fault, however.
Aside from Middlebrooks' homer that opened the scoring in the second inning, the Boston runs off Zito were greatly aided by the Giants' defense.
Brandon Belt couldn't find first base after taking a throw from Zito on a Shane Victorino bunt, giving the Red Sox an extra out in a three-run third. The big hit of the inning was a two-run blooper Jonny Gomes dumped into left field.
Boston made it 6-0 in the fourth when a pop fly to shallow right field hit by Victorino, the last batter Zito faced, was allowed to fall among three onlooking Giants defenders. Middlebrooks, who had walked, scored on the play.
The Red Sox, who began the day just a few percentage points behind Tampa Bay at the top of the American League East standings, broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning off Giants reliever Mike Kickham. Stephen Drew delivered the crowning blow, a three-run home run, his 10th of the season.
Victorino was generously credited with three hits, Dustin Pedroia added a pair of doubles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-run single as the Red Sox won for the 23rd time in 35 day games this season.
The Red Sox out-hit the Giants 12-5.
The Giants, who went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series, never advanced a runner past first base against Doubront other than when Arias touched them all on his first homer of the season.
In winning for just the second time in his last six starts, Doubront walked one and struck out three. The eight-inning effort matched his season-high.
Right-hander Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Red Sox.
NOTES: Ellsbury's first hit, a double on the game's third pitch, continued his streak of having hit safely in all 15 of Boston's interleague matchups this season. ... Red Sox 1B David Ortiz left the game in the fifth inning because of lower-back spasms. ... The Giants got good news on two injury fronts. An MRI on 3B Pablo Sandoval's sore lower back revealed no structural damage. He sat out his second consecutive game nonetheless. X-rays on C Hector Sanchez's left forearm were negative and he caught the final two innings Wednesday. He was hit in the arm by a LHP Franklin Morales fastball in the Giants' ninth-inning rally Tuesday night.
... The home run off Zito was the 16th he's allowed this season. The Giants now have three pitchers among the top 20 in the NL in home runs allowed: RHP Matt Cain (sixth with 19), RHP Tim Lincecum (tied for 17th with 16) and Zito.