Ray, D-backs end spring losing streak with win against Rangers

Mar 5, 2020, 5:33 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws to Texas Rangers batter Danny Santana in th...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws to Texas Rangers batter Danny Santana in the first inning during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SURPRISE, Ariz. – In his second Cactus League appearance, Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher Robbie Ray was dominant and efficient early against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium in a 11-9 win that ends the team’s spring losing streak at eight games.

After going 1.2 innings with no runs allowed and three strikeouts in his first start, Ray continued his success with being aggressive early in this one. He was able to breeze through the first two innings without allowing a hit while striking out three.

Ray commented after the game that his goal in this start was to get ahead of batters early.

“The better I can get ahead of them, I can get them on the defensive because I feel like my stuff is pretty sharp right now,” he said.

Self-confidence in attacking the strike zone was also part of his game plan coming in.

“That was the goal coming in too,” he added. “Pound the zone and get some quick outs.”

The Rangers started to figure out Ray in the third with some hard-hit balls that included a solo home run to left field by outfielder Adolis Garcia, his second of the spring. That would be the only run he would allow.

Ray’s outing lasted 4.0 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run. He struck out three and didn’t allow a walk.

The 28-year old lefty adapted a new over-the-head pitching delivery out of the stretch this offseason that he credits for being able to help him with his timing.

“It allows my arm to be more on time, whereas in the past I feel like I was kind of yanking with my front side because I was going a little too fast,” Ray said. “It just allows me to slow everything down but still have a rhythm to everything I’m doing.”

“I think it all really started with Robbie today,” said manager Torey Lovullo postgame. ”I thought he was on the attack today, and he set a really good tone. Made pitches when he had to, had some good secondary stuff throughout the course of his outing, and got through the four innings and will continue to build on his pitch count and build on his innings from here.”

Kevin Cron was 3-for-3 with a home run, an RBI single and a walk in the win. He was part of a big fifth inning that plated four runs and helped give the D-backs their third win of the spring.

“You lose games for a week and it’s not fun,” added Lovullo. “I think we have to understand what it’s preparing us for. If we can stop and appreciate that moment, those are good moments. You get through them and win a game, hopefully good things will happen again.”

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