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Arizona Diamondbacks: Road trip off to successful start

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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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Left-hander Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks was dominate in gaining the victory.

After sweeping the Chicago White Sox in the friendly confines of Chase Field, manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks began to entertain that fearful thought.

Developing as a strong power at home, the Diamondbacks need to match their energy and dynamism away from the desert. If they expect to hang near the top of the National League West Division this summer, that would be a reasonable goal and expectation.

After dispatching of the Sox, the Diamondbacks then embarked on what could be a fateful journey. They have 19 of the next 25 on the road, and by the time they open a 10-game home stand, beginning June 23, pundits should have a good idea of the strength of their division contention. For now, the initial 11-game trip, through Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Miami, is off to a strong start.

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Behind the two-hit, shutout effort from lefty Robbie Ray, the Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers, 4-0 before 30,081 in Miller Park for their fourth straight victory. While the effort was powered from Gregor Blanco, who started the game with his fourth, career lead-off home run and a bomb from Chris Owings, this one belonged to Ray.

In limiting the powerful Brewers’ hitting attack to two meaningless singles in seven innings of work, Ray improved his personal scoreless streak to 15.2 innings, the longest of his career. Previously, Ray threw 12.0 scoreless frames in starts from May 6 to June 9, 2015. As well, the native of Brentwood, Tenn. lowered his road ERA to 0.81 (three earned runs in 33.1 innings). That represents the best mark in team history through five road starts. With the victory, Ray improved to 4-3 and lowered his season ERA to 3.45.

While the schedule continues in May, it is noteworthy that the Diamondbacks, coming into play Friday night, are one game out of first place and behind the Colorado Rockies, in the NL West. The win boosted the season mark to 30-19. After 49 games last season, the Diamondbacks, under then-manager Chip Hale, were 21-28, in fourth place in the division, and nine games out of first place.

All of which raises little excitement for Lovullo. After all, he cautioned Venom Strikes during the past home stand that the season is still quite young.

"We’re thrilled to death with the start we’ve had and that’s as far as I’ll go. We’ll continue to do the things we have been doing and we’ll see where we are at the end."

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The series in Milwaukee continues Friday night.

That’s when Zack Godley (1-1, 2.45) takes on right-hander Junior Guerra (0-0. 6.00). On Saturday, Zack Greinke (6-2, 2.82) opposes former Diamondback Chase Anderson (2-1, 4.25). For the Sunday series finale, it’s lefty Patrick Corbin (4-4, 4.40) taking on righty Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.20).

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The road trip continues with stops in Pittsburgh for three and four with the Marlins in Miami. The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Tuesday June 6 and face the San Diego Padres.

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