NEW YORK -- Robbie Ray was ready to get back on a Major League mound, and the D-backs were ready to get him back.One day shy of four weeks after he was struck on the head by a Luke Voit line drive, Ray (aka "Bob" for Players Weekend) worked five
NEW YORK -- Robbie Ray was ready to get back on a Major League mound, and the D-backs were ready to get him back.
One day shy of four weeks after he was struck on the head by a Luke Voit line drive, Ray (aka "Bob" for Players Weekend) worked five strong innings to lead the D-backs to a 3-2 win over the Mets on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. The left-hander struck out nine and allowed just two hits, one of them a Yoenis Cespedes home run in the fourth inning.
"It definitely felt like it had been a while," Ray said. "But even in the first inning, I didn't have any issues. I wasn't thinking about a comebacker."
The D-backs won three of their four games this week in New York, finishing their three-city trip with a 4-5 record to hold onto their position atop the National League Wild Card standings. The Mets lost for the ninth time in their last 11 games, but the bigger loss Thursday was outfielder Michael Conforto, who went down with a dislocated left shoulder in a fifth-inning at-bat.
"It turns your stomach," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Young player who's having a tremendous year, really making a name for himself, to go down with an injury like that, it's tough to watch."
Rey Fuentes (aka "Coqui" for Players Weekend) had two hits for the D-backs, including a one-out single that led to a two-run fifth inning against Mets starter Rafael Montero. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth inning for his 30th save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bunt leads to runs: The D-backs had two on with one out when Ray batted in the fifth inning. Ray put down a nice bunt, and Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores was slow to react. Ray hustled down the line and beat Flores' throw to first base. He was initially called out, but the D-backs challenged the call and it was overturned on replay. That left the bases loaded with still just one out, and a Gregor Blanco single and a Ketel Marte sacrifice fly gave the D-backs a pair of runs and a 2-1 lead.
"I got the bunt down, and then I noticed the third baseman breaking back to the bag and the pitcher in no man's land," Ray said. "So I busted it down the line."
A Cespedes blast: Ray made the mistake of hanging a 1-0 curveball to Cespedes (aka "La Potencia" for Players Weekend) in the fourth inning, and the Mets slugger didn't let it go by. He hammered a no-doubt home run into the second deck in left field. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled 440 feet, equaling Cespedes' longest home run of the season (Aug. 3 at Colorado).
"I love it. Obviously that's the starter's side in me. I think I'm more valuable than one inning. Give me three innings. I don't care."
-- D-backs reliever Archie Bradley, on going two innings in relief.
D-backs: The D-backs return home Friday to open their Players Weekend series against the Giants at Chase Field. Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.16 ERA) will be on the mound for the D-backs, with left-hander Ty Blach (8-9, 4.59 ERA) starting for the Giants. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. MST.
Mets:The Mets will open a 10-game, 11-day road trip on Friday in Washington for the first of four games in three days against the Nationals. Right-hander Jacob deGrom (13-7, 3.49 ERA) will look to tie his career high in wins (14), despite the Mets' 3-9 record against the Nationals this year. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
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Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Thursday.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.