Robbie Ray takes no-hit bid into 6th, gets no-decision in D-backs win
PHOENIX — The box score in Monday’s game probably didn’t do Robbie Ray’s performance justice.
Officially, Robbie Ray gave up one run on one hit over six innings. What that doesn’t tell you is that Ray pitched into the seventh inning, had a no-hitter going through 5.2 innings and his lone earned run scored from first base after he left the game. And despite leaving with a 3-0 lead, he didn’t get the win.
The D-backs bullpen went on to surrender four more runs in the seventh inning, giving the Marlins a 5-3 lead. But a heroic home half of the seventh inning by the offense let the D-backs charge back and win the series opener, 7-5.
“It started off really, really well,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “And it was all set up by what Robbie was doing and how he was executing a gameplan. He was on the attack.”
The only hit Ray gave up was a single by Miami’s Starlin Castro, which was followed up by Ray’s seventh strikeout of the day to end the sixth inning.
He came back out for the seventh and walked the leadoff batter, and Lovullo removed Ray from the game. The next hitter, a pinch-hitting Neil Walker, hit a home run off D-backs reliever Yoan Lopez. That walked batter, therefore, was charged as an earned run for Ray.
Either way, it was a gem for the left-hander, who went 6.0-plus innings, allowing one run, on one hit, four walks and seven strikeouts. He rightfully exited to a standing ovation. It was poor luck, if anything, that he had to watch from the dugout as his only run trotted home to score. It was also a welcome turnaround from his last outing, which he exited in the first inning.
“Obviously after the last one, two-thirds of an inning, just kind of unacceptable,” Ray said. “You know we’ve had some tough losses. So just wanted to get the team out on the right foot coming into this series, set the tone first game of the series, and hopefully we can go from here.”
Ray threw 96 pitches, and threw 13 or fewer pitches in an inning three times on Monday. He threw first-pitch strikes to an impressive 15 of 23 batters faced. He retired the first five Marlins batters of the game and had four strikeouts by the end of the third inning.
After Ray left and Lopez gave up the home run, more inherited runners scored as the trio of Lopez, Andrew Chafin and Yoshihisa Hirano combined to allow five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk. By the middle of the seventh, the Marlins had a two-run lead.
But a pair of hits and a pair of walks brought home a run and set up Jake Lamb for a two-out, three-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning. That all made it 7-5 D-backs.
The explosive inning not only un-did the damage done by the bullpen, but it also was a big moment for Lamb.
“It’s no secret how I’ve been playing,” Lamb said. “But I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of coming to the yard every day, trying to get better, and just work, work, work. Yeah, it was nice to come through in that situation. I’ve always loved hitting in those situations.”
Lamb entered the game hitting .199 with five home runs on the year, missing time due to injury. Monday was his 68th game of the season.
“We know what type of year he’s having and it’s been very frustrating,” Lovullo said. “But to have him come through in that critical moment was a really good sign of all the hard work that he is putting in.”
Stefan Crichton and T.J. McFarland pitched a scoreless eighth inning. When it was time for a save situation in the ninth, Archie Bradley, the D-backs’ closer, was nowhere to be found. Instead, it was rookie Kevin Ginkel. Lovullo revealed later that Bradley was unavailable due to low back spasms. He’s day-to-day.
Ginkel got the save, the first of his major league career.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I was a little nervous going out today. I know it’s a big game for us here on out, and we’re trying to make the postseason.”
— D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed was removed from Monday’s game in the eighth inning after a ground ball split his fingernail and caused his finger to bleed. He expects to play on Tuesday.