Ray gives bullpen a break with 7 scoreless

D-backs lefty allows just two hits and strikes out nine

Ray gives bullpen a break with 7 scoreless

Having used just about all of their bullpen the day before, the D-backs really needed Robbie Ray to pitch deep into the game Thursday night.

The left-hander delivered, carving up the Brewers for seven innings as the D-backs grabbed the first game of the four-game series, 4-0, at Miller Park.

"The day was paced by Robbie," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "A night where we really needed him, with a bullpen that might've been a little tired or short in certain places, Robbie gave us seven great innings."

Lovullo on Ray's outing

Ray (4-3) allowed just two hits and struck out nine. In the process he lowered his road ERA to 0.81 this season, the best mark in team history through five road starts.

"I'm just going out there every day," Ray said. "Home or road. Just trying to put up zeros. I don't know if there's anything different. Same approach. My offspeed was good, so it just keeps them off my fastball, so sometimes I'm able to reach back and find an extra number. When you throw a little harder, you can kind of get away with it up in the zone, so I just took advantage of that."

Ray discusses win over Brewers

The Brewers only got one runner past first base against Ray -- pinch-runner Jett Bandy got to third in the second inning on a two-out single by Keon Broxton.

Ray, though, picked Broxton off first to end that threat.

D-backs catch Broxton stealing

"Their guy pitched a good game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He was tough on us tonight. He threw a lot of strikes. He's had a history of getting in trouble and behind in the count, but any time he got behind or got a full count, he pounded the strike zone."

Ray's last start was against the Padres and he worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings. That outing came on the heels of a pair of disappointing starts, and Ray made a conscious effort to improve his pace on the mound while being careful not to rush his mechanics.

It paid off against the Padres and his quickness was noticeable again against the Brewers.

That's where Ray's focus was and not on the fact that the team needed him to pitch deep into the game.

"I wasn't really thinking about that," Ray said. "I was just trying to go out and give a quality start for my team. I didn't really think about that it was a bullpen day [Wednesday]. I just went out and did what I knew I needed to do."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Carson Mason contributed to this report.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.