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Ray loses no-hitter in 6th, D-backs drop finale

@SteveGilbertMLB
April 11, 2019

PHOENIX -- This seemed like Robbie Ray’s game. The D-backs left-hander was dominant through the first four innings Wednesday night, holding the Rangers hitless while keeping his pitch count in check. But by the sixth, things had flipped. Ray was gone and suddenly so was the lead as the Rangers

PHOENIX -- This seemed like Robbie Ray’s game.

The D-backs left-hander was dominant through the first four innings Wednesday night, holding the Rangers hitless while keeping his pitch count in check.

But by the sixth, things had flipped. Ray was gone and suddenly so was the lead as the Rangers rallied for a 5-2 win that left the D-backs wondering how it all changed so quickly.

Pitch efficiency can be an issue for Ray, in part because he strikes a lot of guys out. On Wednesday he fanned 10, the 17th time in his career he’s registered double-digit punchouts.

But Ray threw just 11, 15, 15 and 15 pitches in each of the first four innings. The only Rangers batter to reach (Logan Forsythe) did so on catcher’s interference.

“I felt good,” Ray said. “I felt like everything was working for me. Fastball command was as good as it’s been all year. Slider and curveball were really good, too.”

The question at that point was not how long Ray would last, but whether or not this might be a night in which he registered a no-hitter.

“Just aggressive and he had a feel for all his pitches,” catcher Carson Kelly said. “Attack mode. That’s what he did. Executed when he needed to make a pitch. He was on his stuff tonight.”

In the fifth, the Rangers seemed to adjust a bit to Ray’s approach and began to work deeper counts. An error and a walk -- Ray’s lone free pass of the game -- combined with three strikeouts in the inning conspired to make him throw 26 pitches.

“I think with the strikeouts, the pitch count got a little elevated,” Ray said. “They put together some good [at-bats] but overall I felt strong. I felt really good.”

At that point the Rangers had yet to get a hit and the D-backs were up 1-0.

“His stuff came out real hot and he did a really nice job early on,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “It was going in a very, very positive direction.”

And then suddenly, it wasn’t.

The Rangers collected a pair of hits to open the sixth, including an RBI single by Forsythe through a drawn-in infield, and Ray was removed with a pitch count of 95.

“I just felt like his fastball was a little inconsistent,” Lovullo said of the decision to remove Ray. “The velocity was dropping a little bit, the stuff was up. He wasn’t as crisp and as sharp as he was earlier in the game.”

Ray admitted after the game that he did feel a little fatigued in the sixth, the result he thought, of trying unsuccessfully to leg out a pair of infield grounders.

“Maybe I shouldn’t try to leg out infield grounders,” he said. “I started to feel it in that sixth inning. So, I’ll take it easy on the bases from now on.”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.