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Arizona Diamondbacks: Ray pitches gem, offense and defense cannot get him the win

By Joseph Jacquez
Robbie Ray recorded his first complete game and shutout against the Pirates Tuesday night. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Robbie Ray recorded his first complete game and shutout against the Pirates Tuesday night. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray was fuming in the dugout after departing in the sixth inning

Starting pitcher Robbie Ray deserved a better fate, but the Arizona Diamondbacks offense and defense let the southpaw down in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. Wednesday night

Ray struck out 10 Nationals’ batters in six innings. It was the 9th-straight game Diamondbacks’ pitchers fanned at least 10, which is a new major-league record. Ray only walked one and had great command of his fastball, slider, and curve ball. The southpaw threw 101 pitches (61 S) and scattered four hits, but two defensive graphs behind him hurt.

Ray’s five strikeouts to open the game was the second highest in club history. Only Randy Johnson, who fanned six to open a game twice, holds the franchise mark.

Nationals’ center fielder Michael Taylor led off the bottom of the third and hit a sinking line drive to Yasmany Tomas in left. Tomas appeared to lose the ball in the lights and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. A.J. Pollock backed up Tomas from center, but by the time Pollock got the ball into the cutoff man, Taylor was standing at third with a triple. Washington catcher Matt Wieters struck out swinging, but Gio Gonzalez helped himself with a sacrifice RBI grounder to short.

The sequence tied the score at one. Two batters into the game, Chris Owings blasted a home run to left and gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. But Owings long ball was the extent of the Arizona offense. The Diamondbacks are now 7-5 when they score first and 5-6 against left-handed starters, compared to 12-6 against right-handers.

Manager Torey Lovullo, talked to Venom Strikes after the game about Ray’s hard-luck loss.

"It was really unfortunate. We just didn’t execute behind him in a couple of key situations and unfortunately we couldn’t score some runs."

The other situation occurred in the sixth. After leadoff man Trea Turner grounded out to short and Jayson Werth struck out swinging, Bryce Harper hit a rocket to Brandon Drury with an extreme pull shift on. Drury was playing in shallow right and did not get the glove down in time and the ball squirted past him to the right fielder Owings. Ryan Zimmerman, the hottest hitter in baseball, would make Ray and Drury pay with a RBI double to center over Pollock’s head.

That was the extent of the Washington offense.

The Diamondbacks certainly had their chances against Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez. The southpaw walked seven batters, but none of them crossed home plate. Gonzalez, who has done his best work with RISP, executed pitches with runners at second and third. The offense was 0-for-6 with RISP and stranded 10.

For example, in the fifth Owings singled with one out and moved to second after Paul Goldschmidt walked. But, Owings was caught trying to steal third. Then, Gonzalez walked the next two batters. If Owings had either stayed put or ended up safe at third, the Diamondbacks could have scored at least one run.

Gonzalez only went five innings, but reliever Jacob Turner tossed four innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Arizona had few good swings against Turner, but the tying run reached second in the ninth before Owings struck out to end the game.

Game Essentials

WP: Turner (1-0)

LP: Ray (3-2)

SV: N/A

HR: Owings (5)

T: 2::52

Att: 23, 816

Diamondbacks record: 17-12

Nationals record: 18-9

Notes

  •  Drury was removed from the game in the seventh inning. Manager Torey Lovullo said he and Drury decided that it was best for the team. Drury appeared to experience flu-like symptoms but Lovullo said he thought Drury had already experienced the worst of the symptoms.
  • Outfielder David Peralta was out of the lineup because of an illness. Lovullo expects Peralta to start Thursday’s series finale.
  • RHP Shelby Miller will undergo Tommy John surgery on May 10
  • Relievers Jake Barrett (shoulder) and Steve Hathaway (shoulder) were scheduled to make rehab appearances for Double-A Jackson.
  • Single-A Kane County left-hander Cody Reed was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for April 24-30. Reed tossed six shutout innings in his only start last week on April 26 against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
  • Double-A Jackson second baseman Jamie Westbrook took home Southern League Player of the Week honors for April 24-30. Westbrook, who is a native of Chandler, Ariz., hit .481 with 9 RBI in seven games.

"Arizona Diamondbacks: Offense hits three home runs, Walker inefficient"

The Diamondbacks will go for the series win Thursday at 10:05 a.m., Arizona time. RHP Braden Shipley was called up and will make the start in place of Shelby Miler. A corresponding move has not been announced. RHP Max Scherzer (3-2, 2.94 ERA) will start for Washington.

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