BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:
* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.
Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.
But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.
After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.
It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.
* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.
In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.
Two cheap hits, two RBI.
At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.
Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.
* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.
Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.
He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.
Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.
It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.