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Robbie Ray still rolling, reaches 200 strikeouts in D-backs’ win over Giants

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray has been on a roll. Entering Friday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, he had allowed a total of four earned runs in his last four starts over the course of 25.1 innings.

During that span, Ray hadn’t walked more than two hitters in any start or given up more than four hits.

This would be your typical run of the mill hot streak, except for the fact that those are the last four starts Ray has made since he missed nearly a month after being struck on the head by a line drive.

Ray wasn’t perfect on Friday in San Francisco, but he still gave up only two runs and continued his run of terrific form in the D-backs’ 3-2 win over the Giants.

Strikeouts were a theme of Ray’s outing, especially late, when in the fifth inning, he would reach 200 total for the second consecutive season. He finished the night with ten strikeouts, eight of them in the last four innings.

He struck out the side in the fifth, and while he allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth via his own error at first to make it 2-1 Giants, he struck out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley swinging with runners on first and third in order to keep the deficit at one run.

His final line in seven innings was two runs (one earned) and six hits allowed, striking out 10 and walking none. He now has 55 strikeouts in his last five starts and has struck out at least 10 in 10 of his 25 outings, including his last four starts.

Ray (14-5) facing a loss in the game seemed to wake the D-backs up, as Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (9-14) had retired 14 straight after striking out the first hitter in the top of the seventh inning Paul Goldschmidt.

Daniel Descalso and Ketel Marte hit back-to-back singles, and A.J. Pollock doubled on the next at-bat to give the D-backs a 3-2 lead.

Archie Bradley was perfect in the eighth and so was Fernando Rodney in the ninth, giving Arizona their eighth straight win on the road.

Ray reached 200 in 148.1 innings pitched, the third-fewest innings needed for a D-backs pitcher to get to the total.

He, of course, has a long way to go to reach the top of the charts when it comes to the most strikeouts in one season. Randy Johnson posted over 300 four different times and Curt Schilling did it once as well. Beyond the top-7 all being those two, Dan Haren hit 223 in 2009 and Ray himself is in ninth at 218 for his 2016 campaign.

Ray reaching 200 strikeouts makes it the 12th 200-strikeout season in franchise history and the second time two teammates have done it, with Zack Greinke reaching the mark earlier this week. As you might have guessed, that other duo was Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, who did it back-to-back in 2001 and 2002.

Ray and Greinke are also now the second duo in the majors to each reach 200. Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber are the other pair.

That milestone might not mean much to the players, but it signifies the one-two punch the D-backs possess at the top of their rotation, a critical component of a deep postseason run.

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