Victorino hurts hamstring in Red Sox win

BOSTON – Jacoby Ellsbury started off the second half for the Boston Red Sox in the best possible way.

Ellsbury hit Andy Pettitte’s second pitch of the game over the right-field bullpen, and Johnny Gomes added a two-run shot in the second inning to help the Red Sox return from the All-Star break with a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.

Not long after his teammates went deep, outfielder Shane Victorino pulled up lame on a double-play groundout and left the game with left hamstring tightness.

Victorino, a St. Anthony High School alumnus, hit a grounder to second base in the third and hobbled down the first-base line. He was replaced in right field in the top of the fourth by Daniel Nava.

Victorino was placed on the disabled list earlier this season with a hamstring strain.

Ellsbury, Boston’s lead-off hitter, finished 2-for-3.

He hit .360 in June and is batting .370 in July, putting together a 19-game hitting streak that was snapped just before the break.

“It seems like he’s been hitting .700,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His timing has been much more Jacoby-like. And his ability to get on base speaks for itself with the havoc he can create.”

Felix Doubront outpitched Pettitte in the opener of the three-game series to help American League East-leading Boston maintain a 2 1/2-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. New York is in fourth place, seven games back.

“You can’t take too much of it, but obviously this is an important stretch for us that we are in,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We understand that. The next three teams we play are all in front of us. We need to play well.”

Doubront (7-3) allowed three or fewer earned runs for the 12th start in a row. Doubront has six quality starts against the Yankees in six tries.

He allowed two runs -?one earned – in 6 1/3 innings on Friday with three walks and five strikeouts.

“Look at the last two months. He’s pitched extremely well since the end of May,” Girardi said. “And he’s been tough on us.”

Pettitte (7-7) gave up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.