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Arizona Diamondbacks – Ray survives high pitch, beats Mets

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Robbie Ray ( Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Robbie Ray ( Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
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Left-hander Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks was not at his best, but managed to defeat the New York Mets

A high pitch count usually plagues Robbie Ray, left-hander for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

For whatever reason, Ray cannot properly manage the number of pitches he throws per inning. For the most part, the reasonable barometer is around 15 pitches, but Ray usually exceeds that number.  The one factor at work here remains Ray’s inability to throw first-pitch strikes.

That dilemma followed Ray again Monday night in the opener of a three-game set with the New York Mets. After shutting down the Mets on no runs in seven innings on Aug. 10 at Citi Field, Ray sought to duplicate his strongest effort of the season. The high-pitch count then again influenced Ray’s effort, and his numbers rose.

Still, the left-hander was able to get through five innings Monday night, and credited with only his second win since June 17. In the end, the Arizona Diamondbacks gained a 10-6 victory over the Mets before 17,340 in Chase Field.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak, and the Diamondbacks defeated the Mets for the fourth time in as many games this season.

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“I pretty much stuck with my game plan from the last time I faced them,” Ray said afterward. “No, I’m not concerned about the pitch count. I didn’t have my best stuff and they had some good at-bats. It was nice to have the run support.”

Before the game, Neil Walker, the Mets’ second baseman, said the way to get to Ray was stay patient and wait for the pitch count to rise. Not that the Mets were terribly patient, Ray seemed to dig himself deeper into a self-afflicted abyss. By the end of the fourth inning, Ray was up to 89 pitches for the game. In the quest to go five innings and qualify for the victory, manager Chip Hale allowed Ray to go out for the fifth.

Ray was able to struggle through his latest effort, and catcher Welington Castillo indicated the variable of persistence was a key factor in the win.

“When you’re able to get through without your best stuff, that says a lot,” Castillo, said who chipped in with a 4-for-5 night and two doubles. “Me? I just in every day and prepare. It’s a mindset, and I give everything I have to help this team win.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly gave Ray enough offense. With three in the first, single runs in the third and fourth, and a pair in the eighth, Ray was staked to a 7-2 lead at the time of his exit. The 10 runs marked the 12th time this season Arizona scored seven or more in a game at home. With the win, the Arizona Diamondbacks are now 8-4 in the 12 home games in which they scored seven or more runs.

The 16 hits in this one was two short of the season high. That was established on April 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 16 hits allowed by four New York pitchers was one short of a team-high this season. Twice Mets’ pitchers allowed 17 hits in a game, and the last time was on July 4 to the Marlins.

Reaching a pitch count of 107 (72 for strikes) after the mandatory five innings for a win, Ray allowed eight hits, two runs/one earned, walked one, but was behind nearly every hitter. Still, the win was gratifying.

“I would have liked (Ray) to go seven, eight innings, but what he gave us was good enough,” said Hale. “No, his pitch count was not a concern. This reflects the fact the Mets saw him in two consecutive starts. They made some adjustments, but, at the same time, we need him to get deeper into games.”

If Ray was semi-productive in at least gaining the win, the Arizona bats picked up their starting pitcher. With runs in every inning but the second and the seventh, the Diamondbacks reached double digits in runs for the first time since beating the Rockies in Denver (10-9) on June 24.

Aside from Castillo matching a career high with four hits, Paul Goldschmidt contributed with a 3-for-4 night with a double and triple. Jake Lamb knocked in two with a single and sacrifice fly, and Yasmany Tomas slammed his 22nd homer in the eighth with one on.

On deck

The series with New York continues Tuesday night. That’s when Branden Shipley (2-1, 2.96) takes on Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 2.75). The series concluded Wednesday night with a match-up of Zack Godley (3-2, 5.24), who replaces Patrick Corbin in the rotation, and lefty Jon Niese (8-6, 5.20).

Next: Players exhibited strong respect for Fenway

Then, its’s off to San Diego and four with the Padres at Petco Park. The four game road trip is the shortest of the season.

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