D-backs shut down Pirates behind Ray's first career shutout
PITTSBURGH -- Robbie Ray apologized for keeping reporters waiting at his locker after the game. He's used to having a little more time to cool down.
"Sorry, but I finished my work out later than normal," the Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander said.
Ray pitched a four-hitter in his first career complete game and the Diamondbacks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Ray (5-3) struck out 10, had no walks and threw 115 pitches. The left-hander set a career high by winning his third straight start and has pitched 23 2/3 scoreless innings during that run, all on the road, while also beating the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers.
"Coming off the two starts previous, it's really feeling like I'm getting in the groove with all my pitches," Ray said. "The biggest thing for me is picking up the pace a little bit. Get the ball back, get on the rubber get the sign and go."
Chris Owings snapped a scoreless tie with a double in the sixth inning, and the Diamondbacks ended a three-game losing streak.
The game lasted 2 hours, 10 minutes, as both starters pitched quickly. Ivan Nova (5-4) allowed three runs in seven innings, losing for the just the second time in nine starts, though he broke an 0-for-28 slump dating to last season with a fifth-inning single. He retired his first 12 batters before Jake Lamb led off the fifth with a single.
"It was a very professional effort on his part," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He pitched well, but their guy pitched better."
The Diamondbacks broke through when Owings doubled home Ray Fuentes, who singled with one out and was bunted to second by Ray.
A two-run seventh pushed the lead to 3-0. Paul Goldschmidt doubled off the top of the right field wall to start the inning and scored on a single by Brandon Drury. Fuentes drove in the second run with a groundout.
Ray is 4-1 with a 0.64 ERA in six road starts, compared to 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts at Chase Field.
Lamb had two hits.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (blister on right index finger) threw a three-inning simulated game and said he felt fine. If all goes well in the next few days, he is expected to be activated from the disabled list to start Sunday at Miami.
Pirates: C Chris Stewart (strained left hamstring) was placed on the 10-day DL a day after injuring himself while legging out the second triple of his 11-year career. C Elias Diaz was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... RF Gregory Polanco (sprained right ankle) was not in the lineup a day after being injured but rode his motorized scooter out of the clubhouse following the game. . RHP Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) had a 30-pitch bullpen session two days after pitching three scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Double-A Altoona. He is likely to make a start for Indianapolis on Friday.
Chris Herrmann started behind the plate for the Diamondbacks and went 0 for 3 with a walk, though catcher Chris Iannetta had hit four home runs in his previous six games.
"I know the numbers, but I have confidence in all three of our catchers," said manager Torey Lovullo, who also has Jeff Mathis as part of his catching corps.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, the team's first-round pick in this year's NFL Draft, threw a ceremonial first pitch to fellow rookie James Conner. The Steelers chose Conner, a running back who starred at the University of Pittsburgh, in the third round.
Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99 ERA) is scheduled to start against RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29) on Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series. All four of Godley's outings in May have been quality starts, including pitching six scoreless last Friday at Milwaukee in a no-decision. Kuhl is winless in nine starts since beating Atlanta on April 8 in his season debut.