Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray was mobbed by his teammates in the clubhouse after throwing the first shutout of his career on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about Robbie Ray’s outing on Tuesday night against the Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks catcher Chris Herrmann said Robbie Ray missed his glove only a couple of times on Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ JJ Hensley and Mark Faller discuss the Diamondbacks losing over the weekend and the Penguins’ win over the Predators.
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Chris Iannetta talks about his two-run, game-tying homer on Monday evening at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, May 29, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo talks about the emotional swings in the Diamondbacks 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, May 29, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley talks about the home run Andrew McCutchen hit off him to give the Pirates a walkoff on Monday, May 29, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses Patrick Corbin’s struggles and his team’s loss to the Brewers on Sunday at Miller Park. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin was roughed up by the Brewers on Sunday in Milwaukee, giving up seven runs, including four on a grand slam by Domingo Santana. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke talks about the pitch that Jett Bandy hit for a bases-clearing double in Saturday’s loss to the Brewers. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down Zack Greinke’s outing vs. the Brewers and Chase Anderson’s near no-hitter on Saturday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt talks about the performance of ex-teammate Chase Anderson, who flirted with a no-hitter against his former team on Saturday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s late rally to beat the Brewers 4-2 in Milwaukee on Friday night.
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Chris Iannetta talks about the ninth-inning home run he hit on Friday night in Milwaukee.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the key for the Diamondbacks’ long-term success this season and weigh in on the LeBron vs. Jordan debate.
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Lefty Robbie Ray lowered his road ERA to 0.81 with seven scoreless innings vs. the Brewers on Thursday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about left-hander Robbie Ray’s outing in his team’s 4-0 win over the Brewers on Thursday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses his club’s 8-6 win over the White Sox to complete a home sweep on Wednesday. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb discusses homering off left-hander Jose Quintana despite his lefty struggles and the Diamondbacks’ strong start to the season after Wednesday’s win. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks catcher Chris Herrmann on recent hitting surge and his home run in Arizona’s 5-4 win on Tuesday at Chase Field. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Pitcher Archie Bradley was one of three Arizona Diamondbacks who participated in a cow-milking competition on May 23, 2017 at Chase Field.
The contest was to promote Shamrock Farms Grand Slam Milk Drive program.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller discusses his Tommy John surgery and his impending rehab before Tuesday’s game at Chase Field. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Mark Faller and Dan Bickley weigh in on the Diamondbacks, LeBron James and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
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Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke on his near-complete game and use of an Eephus pitch during Monday’s dominant outing against the White Sox. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about Zack Greinke’s strong performance and the club’s offense. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and E.J. Montini discuss the Diamondbacks and their special summer ticket deal.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about Padres lefty Clayton Richard’s performance and the home run by Chris Iannetta on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks’ Chris Iannetta returned from the disabled list on Sunday and slammed a home run on the first pitch he saw. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Godley threw seven innings and allowed three runs, all of them scoring in the fifth in a loss to the Padres on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on his team’s easy win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s eight-run first inning and right-hander Taijuan Walker’s sharp outing vs. the Padres. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker gave up just two hits in six scoreless innings, but he wasn’t satisfied with the way he threw on Friday night in a win over the Padres. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks’ Brandon Drury talks about his team’s offensive outburst vs. the Padres on Friday night at Petco Park. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the NBA MVP, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers and the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive backs.
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D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo, catcher Chris Herrmann and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to the 5-4 win against the Mets, sweeping the series, May 17, 2017.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Greinke and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt react to Tuesday’s 5-4 Diamondbacks win. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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D-Backs’ Zack Godley talks pitching and gameplay after his team’s 7-3 win over the Mets, May 15, 2017.
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D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo discusses the pace his team kept during a 7-3 win over the Mets, May 15, 2017.
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Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock talks about the injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s loss to the Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta doesn’t think his glute injury is significant, he said. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down his team’s 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Sunday and provides updates on his injured outfielders. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta says he ‘got lucky on all accounts’ after being hit in the face by a 93 mph fastball on Friday night vs. the Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Nick Ahmed react to the 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, May 13, 2017.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo provides an update on catcher Chris Iannetta, who was hit in the face by a pitch during Friday’s game, before Saturday’s game. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, second baseman Brandon Drury and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to 11-4 win against the Pirates, May 12, 2017.
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Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke describes his night, in which he nearly threw a no-hitter against the Pirates.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts to Zack Greinke’s near-no-hit performance in Thursday’s win over the Pirates.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Godley and shortstop Nick Ahmed react to the 7-1 win.
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Manager Torey Lovullo and left-hander Robbie Ray react to the 7-3 loss.
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azcentral sports’ Sarah McLellan and Dan Bickley discuss the D-Backs’ difficulties on the road and the NBA’s big issue in the playoffs.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo says defensive miscues cost them in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing vs. the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin was charged with eight runs in four-plus innings against the Rockies on Saturday night.
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Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t think his team played fundamentally sound in Saturday night’s 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in seven innings in a win over the Rockies on Friday.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down his team’s win over the Rockies on Friday night.
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Robbie Ray on postgame celebration after shutout vs. Pirates
Torey Lovullo on Robbie Ray’s shutout of Pirates
Chris Herrmann on Robbie Ray’s ‘outstanding’ outing vs. Pirates
Shot Clock: Winless weekend with D-Backs
Diamondbacks’ Chris Iannetta on his latest clutch homer
Torey Lovullo on Diamondbacks’ loss to the Pirates
Archie Bradley after walkoff loss to Pirates
Torey Lovullo on Patrick Corbin’s outing, loss to Brewers
Patrick Corbin on his outing vs. Brewers
Zack Greinke on his outing in loss to Brewers
Torey Lovullo on loss to Brewers, Chase Anderson
Paul Goldschmidt talks about Chase Anderson’s outing
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ comeback win in MIlwaukee
Chris Iannetta on his game-tying homer vs. Brewers
Can D-Backs keep this up? Why, why not
Robbie Ray after dominant outing in Milwaukee
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo on impressive win over Brewers
Torey Lovullo on ‘nice team win’ for D-Backs
Jake Lamb on strong game against lefty Jose Quintana
Chris Herrmann on hitting surge, HR in win
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley competes in cow milking competition
Shelby Miller: Tommy John surgery ‘was a pretty smooth process’
Shot Clock: Time to take D-Backs seriously
Zack Greinke on near-complete game, Eephus pitch
Torey Lovullo on Zack Greinke’s ‘great night’
Montini volunteers free tickets – with Bickley’s help
D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo on loss vs. Padres
Chris Iannetta on homering in first game off DL
Zack Godley on his outing vs. Padres
Torey Lovullo after D-Backs pound Padres 9-1
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ blowout win vs. Padres
Taijuan Walker tosses six scoreless vs. Padres
Brandon Drury homers in win vs. Padres
Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job
Diamondbacks outlast Mets in extra innings
Diamondbacks discuss close win over Mets
Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley talks after win over Mets
Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo talks upbeat pace in win over Mets
A.J. Pollock discusses his injury after loss to Pirates
David Peralta downplays his injury vs. Pirates
Torey Lovullo on injuries, loss vs. Pirates
Chris Iannetta talks about scary HBP vs. Pirates
Diamondbacks rally falls short against Pirates
Lovullo: Iannetta “said he could play tonight if he had to” after HBP
Diamondbacks overwhelm Pirates 11-4
Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Zack Greinke on his near no-hitter against Pirates
Lovullo reacts to Greinke’s near no-hitter in win
Diamondbacks snap losing streak with win over Tigers
Diamondbacks drop third straight with loss to Tigers
Shot Clock: D-Backs face pivotal homestand
Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ latest loss to Rockies
Taijuan Walker after loss to Rockies
Patrick Corbin after being roughed up by Rockies
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo on ‘tough night’ at Coors Field
Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies
Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies
PITTSBURGH – Robbie Ray was wide-eyed before walking into the visitors’ clubhouse late Tuesday night, a look that suggested he knew what awaited him behind closed doors. When he flung them open, a cheer erupted inside.
The first complete game and the first shutout of Ray’s career was cause for celebration on Tuesday night at PNC Park, where the Diamondbacks not only beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 but also witnessed the most convincing evidence to date that their left-hander might be turning a corner in his career.
“I think all the work that he’s done in the past and this year, it’s really kind of come together,” Diamondbacks pitching coach Mike Butcher said. “It’s a big step forward.”
BOX SCORE: Diamondbacks 3, Pirates 0
For the third consecutive start, Ray did not allow a run. He worked quickly and confidently, striking out 10, retiring the side in order five times and navigating easily out of the only jam in which he found himself.
And after firing a 95 mph fastball past Josh Bell on his 115th pitch for the game’s final out, Ray had run his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 24 2/3 innings, the third-longest streak by a starter in club history and the longest by a pitcher not named Brandon Webb.
“I really feel like I’m getting in a groove with all my pitches – my curveball and my slider, my fastball command is great,” Ray said. “I felt really good.”
Two and a half weeks ago, Ray faced this same Pirates team but labored through four innings, struggling to avoid deep counts and to throw strikes. Five days later, he made a change, picking up his tempo between pitches, and, in his eyes, it’s the biggest reason for his recent success.
“Just getting the ball back, getting back on the rubber, getting the sign and go,” Ray said. “I’ve said before, sometimes you can have too much time up there thinking. We have a game plan, I’m going to stick to it and I don’t want to get away from it.”
Lately, that game plan has included a steady diet of sliders; an increased number of curveballs; very few, if any, change-ups; and a preponderance of his best pitch, an explosive four-seam fastball that few have been able to hit.
The pitch mix has left hitters with few answers. It was never more evident on Tuesday than in the fourth, an inning that began with a Josh Harrison double on a ball center fielder Rey Fuentes lost in the lights.
After getting Bell to ground weakly to first, Ray carved up David Freese and Francisco Cervelli for consecutive strikeouts to end the inning.
Freese saw a 95 mph fastball (called strike), a curveball (swinging strike), a slider in the dirt (ball) and a high 96 mph fastball (swinging strike). Cervelli actually got ahead in the count 2-0, but Ray came back with three consecutive fastballs at 95, 97 and 96 mph, respectively, all of which elicited swings-and-misses.
“We had a great mix to keep these guys off balance today,” catcher Chris Herrmann said. “They didn’t really have a chance. I know they hit a couple of balls hard, but for the most part I felt like any batter coming up today was going to be an automatic out with the stuff he came with today.”
It’s the kind of performance that left people in the Diamondbacks clubhouse wondering if they’re watching Ray ascend to frontline starter status before their very eyes.
“He’s been delivering and doing his job, so we’ve got to say, yes, he’s taken that next step to being a frontline guy,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “You’ve got to do it for an entire season before you probably need to feel that comfort level that you really are, but he’s on his way.”
A year ago, Ray posted a strikeout rate (11.3 per nine innings) that had only been reached by 10 other starting pitchers in baseball history. But he also logged the third-worst ERA (4.90) ever by a pitcher with 200 strikeouts. But, the past few starts, the results are beginning to match the dominance.
His teammates wasted no time showing their appreciation when he walked through the clubhouse door. Ray took nearly a half hour before speaking with reporters, saying he needed time to clean the ketchup out of his ears.
“First complete game – yeah, we had some postgame festivities,” Ray said. “It kind of turned into, ‘Find the closest thing and dump it on the person in the basket.’ It’s fun, though. It’s great.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.
Diamondbacks at Pirates
When: 9:35 a.m.
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh.
Pitchers: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99) vs. Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29).
TV/Radio: FSAZ/KTAR-AM (620), KHOV-FM (105.1).
Godley threw well again last week in Milwaukee, giving up just five hits and a walk in six scoreless innings, striking out six. … He has logged at least six innings in four consecutive starts, and has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his five starts. … Godley is throwing his curveball more than ever, using it 28.4 percent of the time, up from 23.7 percent last year and 11.8 percent in 2015. … Kuhl gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets in his most recent start. … He started the season well, posting a 2.60 ERA in three starts, but has a 8.67 ERA in his past seven starts. … Lefties are hitting .340 with a .406 on-base and .660 slugging off Kuhl.
Thursday: At Miami, 4:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (6-3, 3.24) vs. Marlins LHP Jeff Locke (9-8, 5.44)*.
Friday: At Miami, 4:10 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (4-5, 5.14) vs. Marlins RHP Jose Urena (3-2, 3.14).
Saturday: At Miami, 1:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.47) vs. Marlins RHP Edinson Volquez (1-7, 4.44).
* – Stats from 2016.