BOSTON — Scoring three runs in the top of the first inning is typically a good start toward a victory.
But not so much at cozy Fenway Park.
And definitely not against these red-hot Red Sox.
Facing their AL East rivals for the first time since late May, the Rays (62-60) got a quick refresher in why the Sox have the best record and most prolific offense in the majors in what turned into a frustrating 7-3 loss.
"You're not going to get a much better start than three runs in the first inning, unfortunately we gave it back a little too quick,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They can pile on. Very relentless from top to bottom.''
Blame RHP Ryne Stanek, who wasn't very good for openers, giving up two runs in a messy 32-pitch first to change the momentum.
"I got behind I think every hitting I faced … and doing that against a lineup like that is just a recipe for it to not be very good,'' Stanek said.
And then blame RHP Yonny Chirinos, who got through the second and third unscathed but then allowed runs in four straight innings, five total, and couldn't do much about it to change the outcome.
"Yonny … uncharacteristically was up in the zone,'' Cash said. "Left his fastball there and he really didn't have an offspeed pitch to go to. … And when you go limited weapons, the Red Sox are going to get you. He got hit maybe as hard as I've seen. … He's a sinker ball pitcher; when it's not sinking, it's not a good thing.''
When the 87-win Sox weren't clanging balls off the wall, they were playing good defense, CF Jackie Bradley making a highlight catch to rob Tommy Pham of extra bases.
After throwing 79 pitches in his most recent outing Sunday, RHP Tyler Glasnow is close to being fully stretched out to starter status, Cash said, with Saturday's start possibly the last under restriction. Glasnow, who had been to Fenway Park with the Pirates but didn't pitch, said he feels the transition back from the relief role he had in Pittsburgh has gone well. "I think I'm close to being built up, so I'm starting to feel pretty good,'' he said.
LHP Adam Kolarek had good reason to be as excited as he was to finish Thursday's game in New York with his first career save after coming in with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth, and stranding the three runners. Including the historic context, as the first pitcher to do that in the majors since 2012 (St. Louis' Jason Motte, at Arizona) and the first to do so for his first career save since 2000 (Yankees' Todd Erdos, at Texas.)
For a guy who spent seven-plus years in the minors before debuting last season at age 28, it was a big moment, one the rookie found out his family shared. His dad watched on TV in Baltimore while talking to his sister who was tuned in, in Arizona, and dozens of relatives, friends and former teammates texted their congrats.
"It's one of those moments you work your life for and then to finally be in that situation and come through, I think that's what the emotion that came out was," Kolarek said. "Years and years of working toward that moment and actually getting it done.'' He made sure to get a keepsake, taking the final-out ball from C Michael Perez: "I wanted that one for sure."
C Jesus Sucre said his sore right wrist is feeling better after testing it with about 20 swings Friday afternoon; a decision on his status is likely to come by Saturday. … LHP Vidal Nuno, sidelined since a July 3 hamstring strain, made his first rehab appearance, throwing 34 pitches over 1⅔ innings for the Class A Stone Crabs, allowing three runs on five hits, including two homers.
Numbers of the day
14 Players on Rays' 25-man active roster Friday who were not there when they last played the Red Sox on May 24.
8 Active Rays who hadn't previously played at Fenway Park before Friday: Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, Diego Castillo, Tyler Glasnow, Adam Kolarek, Brandon Lowe, Michael Perez, Hunter Wood.
• With the Sox using three left-handed starters, Cash plans to rest for some of his lefty hitters who play every day. Jake Bauers didn't start Friday (though he pinch-hit), with off-days coming for OFs Kevin Kiermaier and Mallex Smith. Righty C.J. Cron is slated to play all three games.
• RHP Shane Baz, the touted prospect acquired from the Pirates to complete the Chris Archer trade, lost his Rays debut in moving to rookie-level Princeton, allowing four runs (three earned) in three innings.
• The Rays are 1-5 when scoring three or more in the first.
• The Rays dropped to 4-10 vs. Boston, clinching a third straight losing season series, longest since 2005-07.