Ray's solid outing derailed by defense

Ray's solid outing derailed by defense

CINCINNATI -- D-backs starter Robby Ray's night was derailed before it ever really began.

After a leadoff single in the first from Billy Hamilton and a one-out walk to Joey Votto, Ray looked like he was out of the inning when, after Jay Bruce struck out, they had Hamilton in a rundown on an attempted double steal. Hamilton was able to beat the throw from catcher Tuffy Gosewisch back to the base to extend the inning.

Ray was seemingly out of the inning again three pitches later after inducing a grounder to third base, but a throw in the dirt from Jake Lamb extended the inning again. Before the inning ended, Ray had thrown 10 more pitches and three unearned runs had crossed the plate.

While he settled down after that, allowing six runs (three earned) with a career-high 10 strikeouts over five innings, the damage was already done and the D-backs lost to the Reds, 6-1.

"Those are plays that have got to be made at this level," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "That's on our defense, on the catcher Tuffy and Jake at third. That's got to be done, and, of course, [Ray] gets a ground ball to get out of the inning after that and we throw it away. Plain and simple, those three runs are on our defense. And he worked extremely hard to get out of that inning."

Ray looked pretty dominant the rest of the game. Eight of his 10 strikeouts came over his final four innings, including two innings where he struck out the side. The other three runs he gave up all came in the same inning -- two leadoff singles from Zack Cozart and Votto and a three-run homer from Bruce in the third. He went on to retire the next eight batters he faced.

"It was 0-2, I should never give up an 0-2 hit, much less a homer to a left-hander," Ray said. "I was trying to bury a slider and I just left it middle and he took advantage of it."

Ray's career night in the strikeout column came courtesy of his fastball command, he said. Seven of his 10 strikeouts came either on his two-seam or four-seam fastball.

"It was just my fastball command," Ray said. "It's something that's always been really good for me. I worked both sides of the plate with it tonight. I was able to keep them off balance with my curveball and my slider."

While the outing was a success for Ray overall, Hale couldn't help but wonder what could have been had it not been for that first inning.

"I think he probably could've gotten through the sixth or the seventh inning. I was proud of him. I thought he battled," Hale said. "I asked him at one point because I thought he looked tired. It looked like it was getting the best of him. He said no, and I said, 'OK then, show me that next inning,' and he did."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.