PITTSBURGH -- With Robbie Ray dealing his first career shutout, the D-backs only needed a few timely hits to win Tuesday night at PNC Park. But Ivan Nova was barely allowing them time to get settled, much less timely hits, as he cruised through five innings. Arizona finally broke through against Nova, supporting Ray's 115-pitch gem in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.
"Anytime you throw a complete-game shutout, this being my first time, obviously there's that wow factor of, 'Man, that just happened,'" Ray said. "It was a lot of fun."
Ray won the pitchers' duel with his third straight scoreless start and ran his streak to 24 2/3 innings. The lefty struck out 10 without a walk and scattered four hits in the first complete game of his career. Ray also continued his dominance away from Chase Field, lowering his road ERA to 0.64 this season.
"He's pitching like a No. 1 right now," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's been delivering and doing his job, so we've got to say yes, he's taken that next step to being a front-line guy."
Nova was his typically efficient self for much of the night, breezing through five innings on 38 pitches. But he allowed Chris Owings' RBI double in a 14-pitch sixth and two more runs in a 26-pitch seventh -- his final inning -- to take the tough loss.
"Through five innings, it was a masterpiece on both sides," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "No room for error. We didn't have a safety net for him."
Nova recorded his first hit of the season in the sixth, a leadoff single to center that snapped his 0-for-28 streak, but he could appreciate Ray's effort on the mound.
"He did a tremendous job. He was attacking our hitters," Nova said. "He was mixing really well, locating really well, getting quick outs -- same thing that I did. He ended up getting the win because he pitched better than I pitched."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Missed opportunity: The Pirates were given a chance to strike first in the fourth in support of Nova, but couldn't capitalize. Josh Harrison reached safely on what was ruled a double to center field -- but it was actually a bizarre misplay by Rey Fuentes, who broke in on a ball that landed at least 20 feet behind him. Josh Bell grounded out to first base, moving Harrison to third with one out. But neither David Freese nor Francisco Cervelli could deliver the go-ahead RBI, as Ray struck out both to escape the inning unscathed.
"We missed an opportunity," Hurdle said. "Couldn't convert there. There's nothing for [Nova] to hang his head about."
Adding on: After finally getting to Nova in the sixth, the D-backs made him work in the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt led off the inning with a double off the top of the right-field Clemente Wall and reached third on Jake Lamb's single to center. With one out, Brandon Drury hit a run-scoring single deep into the hole. After Nova walked Chris Herrmann, Arizona scored another run on Fuentes' groundout to second base.
"I'm over it now. I'm ready for tomorrow. Some guys have it some days, and it's part of it. You tip your cap. That's the beauty of this game, is we're going to come back tomorrow at 12:30 and play another one."-- Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, on moving on from Ray's shutout
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson, the former D-backs setup man demoted to lower-leverage work after a rough start, pitched a scoreless eighth on eight pitches. It was his sixth straight scoreless appearance since his last outing against his former team on May 14, after which his ERA climbed to 7.80. Hudson has not allowed a hit in five of his past seven appearances.
Goldschmidt lifted a long fly ball to right field in the seventh that first-base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled hit the railing and bounced back into play as Goldschmidt reached second. Lovullo asked for a crew chief review believing the ball may have hit the seats above the railing, which would have made it a homer. After a review, the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs: The D-backs wrap up their three-game series with the Pirates on Wednesday at 9:35 a.m. MST with right-hander Zack Godley on the mound. Godley, who took the place of the injured Shelby Miller in the rotation, tossed six shutout innings against the Brewers in his last start.
Pirates: The Pirates will finish their six-game homestand Wednesday with a 12:35 p.m. ET rubber game against the D-backs. Right-hander Chad Kuhl is scheduled to start after a rough outing against the Mets in which he allowed five earned runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Kuhl, carrying a 6.29 ERA, has lost each of his past five decisions.