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Robbie Ray records first complete-game and shutout as D-backs drop Pirates

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Robbie Ray threw his first complete game and shutout of his career, and the Arizona Diamondbacks pulled off a 3-0 win Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

There’s no doubt this is the best stretch of Ray’s career.

Ray’s road ERA now sits at 0.64 (three earned runs in 42.1 innings) after he allowed four hits and struck out 10 without a walk at PNC Park.

Ray needed 115 pitches to go the distance and since he allowed two home runs with no outs in the third frame of a loss to the Pirates on May 14, he’s pitched 24.2 innings of scoreless baseball.

The pitcher’s biggest challenge of the day came in the fourth frame when Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison doubled on a fly ball that D-backs center fielder Rey Fuentes lost sight of and miss-played. Harrison found third base on the first out, but Ray struck out David Freese and Francisco Cervelli swinging to get out of trouble.

“My off-speed was really good tonight and my fastball command,” Ray said. “That’s the biggest thing, getting deep into games, not walking guys and letting your defense do some work.”

Ray put together the gem on a night he outlasted Pirates pitcher Ivan Nova, who entered the day with a 2.92 ERA and ranked 10th in MLB in wins above replacements for pitchers. The D-backs’ starter got many of his outs like the groundball-inducing Nova, picking up 10 outs via grounders.

“It comes at a perfect time for us,” said manager Torey Lovullo, referencing the walk-off home run that beat the D-backs on Monday.

Ray went at least seven frames in his last two victories against the Brewers and Padres by allowing just two hits in each and inducing a combined seven groundballs to 25 fly balls — he struck out 13 between the two games as well.

Offensively, the Diamondbacks broke through Tuesday when Owings doubled home Fuentes, who singled with one out and was bunted to second by Ray.

A two-run seventh pushed the lead to 3-0. Paul Goldschmidt doubled off the top of the right field wall to start the inning and scored on a single by Brandon Drury. Fuentes drove in the second run with a groundout.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (blister on right index finger) threw a three-inning simulated game and said he felt fine. If all goes well in the next few days, he is expected to be activated from the disabled list to start Sunday at Miami.

Pirates: C Chris Stewart (strained left hamstring) was placed on the 10-day DL a day after injuring himself while legging out the second triple of his 11-year career. C Elias Diaz was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. … RF Gregory Polanco (sprained right ankle) was not in the lineup a day after being injured and no update was provided. … RHP Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) had a 30-pitch bullpen session, two days after pitching three scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Double-A Altoona. He is likely to make a start for Indianapolis on Friday.

IANNETTA SITS

Chris Herrmann started behind the plate for the Diamondbacks and went 0 for 3 with a walk, though catcher Chris Iannetta had hit four home runs in his previous six games.

“I know the numbers, but I have confidence in all three of our catchers,” said manager Torey Lovullo, who also has Jeff Mathis as part of his catching corps.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99 ERA) is scheduled to start against RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29) on Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series. All four of Godley’s outings in May have been quality starts, including pitching six scoreless last Friday at Milwaukee in a no-decision. Kuhl is winless in nine starts since beating Atlanta on April 8 in his season debut.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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