Running into spectacular starting pitching in two of the last three games, Robbie Ray and the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to be the givers instead of the receivers on Saturday. After experiencing a rough first inning in his last outing, Ray bounced back and was dominant for six more innings after that. Saturday, he picked up right where he left off. The left-hander threw 7 1⁄3 shutout innings. He allowed only three hits and kept his free passes in check, allowing only two walks in the game.
The first free pass issued by Ray was a four-pitch walk to Howie Kendick in the first inning. The next walk allowed came in the fourth inning after Asdrubal Cabrera fouled off some good pitches. Cabrera was Washington’s second base runner of the game. In the sixth inning, Kendrick grounded a single past a diving Eduardo Escobar. That was the second hit allowed by Ray in the game and was also only the third ball Washington managed to get beyond the infield for the entire game to that point. Ray’s final hit allowed came with the next batter, Asdrubal Cabrera. He too managed to get the ball out of the infield, hitting a double to left which David Peralta was able to cut off in time to hold Kendrick at third. Another five batters came to the plate for Washington to face Ray after that hit. None of them managed to get the ball out of the infield either. It should have been only four batters that came to the dish, but Escobar had a difficult day at the hot corner. Not only did he allow the hit that went by him, he had two fielding errors on the day as well.
On the other side of the ball, the Diamondbacks had their ups and their downs. In the first inning, they had Peralta on second with one out and bases loaded with two outs, but were not able to push a run across in either case. The game went that way until the sixth. The Diamondbacks were able to get runners on and to create a bit of havoc on the bases, but it wasn’t until the sixth that the levee finally broke. It was in the sixth inning that Escobar contributed to the good part of his bi-polar day. That’s when he took the first pitch of the frame and deposited it in the seats. Two batters later, Carson Kelly tried to give a souvenir to the fans in the pool, but a great catch was made on the wall by Michael Taylor. Robbie Ray helped himself in the seventh. Coming back from the stretch, Ildemaro Vargas started things off with a triple into the right field corner. Ray then brought him home when he slapped a single into center. Appropriately, that gave Ray the game-winning RBI, a nice touch after the clinic he provided from the mound. Ray then scored on a double by Peralta. The Diamondbacks went on to score three more in the frame off of a series of singles, walks, and productive outs.
Despite Ray cruising along, Virtual Torey Lovullo decided to pull Ray from the game after only four pitches in the eighth inning and what should have been two outs. Unfortunately for Ray, Escobar’s second fumble of the game allowed Kendrick to reach safely. Virtual Lovullo turned the ball over to Junior Guerra, who slammed the door shut.
The National’s only run of the game came in the ninth inning, courtesy of another rocky outing by Alex Young. Yoan López was brought in to clean up Young’s mess, doing so with no problem.
Final Score: WAS 1 - AZ 6
Robbie Ray was the player of the game. His 7 1⁄3 innings of work came with another eight strikeouts. This was another vintage outing by Ray, the sort that should give teams across baseball pause when looking at facing the Diamondbacks in a short series.
These same two teams will meet up for the seventh and final time tomorrow to close out the four-game series. The Nationals will send Joe Ross to the mound. The Diamondbacks will counter with Madison Bumgarner.
The win ties the Diamondbacks with the San Francisco Giants for second in the NL West.