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Sedona Red Recap: Ray strikes out 12, D-backs avoid being swept at home

Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks were still reeling from the tough loss on Saturday night to the San Diego Padres where they saw their lead slip away in the ninth inning after a dominant performance by starting pitcher Zack Godley.

Robbie Ray and the D-backs bullpen, however, weren’t going to let that happen two nights in a row, as the left-hander struck out a dozen and led Arizona to a 3-2 victory for its 83rd win of the season.

Ray has been pitching on a different level since returning from the seven-day concussion list after being struck by a pitch on July 28. Through the first 4.1 innings pitched against the Padres, 10 of his 13 outs recorded were strikeouts.

He was dialed into the zone after giving up a walk and a single to the first two batters of the game. From that point on, he seemed to be able to strike out batters at will. Of his 106 pitches, 70 were thrown for strikes.

Ray went six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits. He kept the Circle K strikeout meter busy all night, fanning 12 while only walking two. He now has 45 strikeouts in his last four starts.

J.D. Martinez continued to play like a man possessed, hitting his 20th and 21st home runs since joining Arizona on July 19. He is batting .416 with eight home runs and 16 RBI in his last eight games.

Paul Goldschmidt returned to form in the fourth inning with a dinger of his own, a solo shot, increasing his season totals to 34 home runs and 111 RBI. He went 1-for-4 and remains two hits away from 1,000 this season.

Lovullo opted to bring in Archie Bradley for the save in the ninth inning. He said after the game that despite Fernando Rodney’s performance Saturday night, he will remain the closer and he was giving Rodney the day off. Rodney threw 28 pitches the night before.

There was no high drama at the end of this game. Bradley was dealing, with three strikeouts to end the game. Bradley got his first career save and the D-backs won and avoid the sweep.

THE GOOD

– This was the ninth time this season and the 13th time in his career that Ray has tallied 10 strikeouts or more in a game.

– Ray is 4-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 45 strikeouts in four starts since returning from the seven-day concussion list after being struck in the head by a line drive on July 28.

– Since joining the D-backs on July 19, J.D. Martinez is second in MLB in home runs with 21. He has four multi home run games as a D-back.

– Entering play today, the D-backs’ 3.62 ERA and .240 opponent batting average are both the lowest marks in team history.

THE BAD

– The D-backs have only two stolen base attempts since Aug. 22. They were caught stealing both times.

– Jake Lamb continues to struggle, especially against the shift Colorado was putting on against him. He went 2-of-12 in the series with a single, a double, and one RBI.

– Lovullo stated after the game that there is no closer controversy and he had decided to give Rodney the night off before the start of the game. Shucks.

STAT OF THE GAME

1.79 – Robbie Ray is averaging 1.79 strikeouts per inning (45K in 25.1 IP) since returning from the seven-day concussion list.

HE SAID IT

Torey Lovullo on the closer situation with Fernando Rodney and Archie Bradley: “Fernando is our closer. There is no closer controversy. We’ve had situations like this pop up in the past, it’s just we never had a chance to close Archie when Fernando was down and we made up our mind pregame that he was not going to be available. It’s the first time that it stood out, and it worked out very well, but there’s no controversy. Fernando is still our closer.”

NOTED

The D-backs placed Randall Delgado on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation and selected INF/OH Christian Walker from Triple-A Reno.

– Happy birthday Goldy! The D-backs slugger turned 30 today.

– Goldschmidt is now two hits away from 1,000.

– Arizona has won 13 of their last 15 games against the NL West.

– First pitch was at 1:10 p.m. with an outdoor temperature of 100 degrees and an indoor temp of 78.

UP NEXT

The D-backs will try to move on and forget this series, as they take on the Rockies in a crucial four game set against Colorado. The Rockies come fresh off sweeping the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The D-backs’ starting pitcher will be ace Zack Greinke taking on Kyle Freeland for the Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Freeland is 11-10 this season for the Rockies with a 3.99 ERA.

Greinke is 16-6 in 28 starts this season with a 3.01 ERA. In his career against the Rockies, he is 9-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 23 starts. He has a 2-0 record in his last 3 starts with a 1.83 ERA. After a hot start, Greinke has struggled to strike batters out. His last game with double-digit strikeouts was on May 22 and he hasn’t topped 7 punchouts in a game since August 14.

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