Ray scattered five singles and struck out eight over six innings, but more importantly he limited his walks to just two after allowing a total of nine in his first two starts.
"Everything was working well for me," Ray said. "Offspeed, I was able to throw it in and out of the zone, but mainly just my fastball command, I was able to get it in and out on guys. The slider was on tonight. It was probably the best it's been all season, so that was a plus for sure."
The biggest improvement the D-backs wanted to see out of Ray was his pitch efficiency. Last season, even though he put up a respectable 3.25 ERA in 23 starts, he struggled to pitch deep in games because his pitch count would rise quickly as hitters worked deep counts.
Tuesday he gave a bit of a rest to a beleaguered bullpen, using 101 pitches to get through six innings and he thought he could have gone longer.
"He wanted to go back out," Hale said. "He goes, 'I was told I could throw 120 pitches tonight.' I told him that was good enough for tonight. He was excited about what he did but he wasn't happy about being taken out, either."
Said Ray, "I felt great. I wanted to go back out there. I felt like it was my game, but I was ready to hand it off to the bullpen. I knew they were going to lock it down, so I was fine with it."
In a sign of just how well things were going for Ray, he not only laid down a successful sac bunt in the fifth, but also faked a bunt and instead lashed a single to left in the sixth for his first hit on the year.
"I was just trying to stay short to the ball," Ray said. "I don't know, I just kind of blacked out for a second. First hit of the year. It was great."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.