D-backs lose game, series in extra innings to the Pirates

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Inconsistent starting pitching has plagued the Arizona Diamondbacks so far this season. One shining spot in their rotation coming into Sunday’s finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates was Robbie Ray.

Ray came into the game with a 1.96 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched. The four earned runs he gave up in three starts came against formidable opponents in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, making him Arizona’s most consistent starter so far this season.

This wasn’t the case in game 3 against the Pirates. During his start on Sunday, Ray struggled with control early on and was constantly pitching out of the stretch due to runners on base. His struggles came late in each inning, but it caused his pitch count to surpass 60 by the end of the 2nd.

He pitched his way out of jams in the first two innings, but he gave up three runs in the 3rd and allowed two batters to reach base in the 4th inning before being pulled.

Ray ended his day after 3.0 IP, surrendering five runs, four earned, by way of eight hits. He walked two and struck out five. He threw 52 strikes out of 84 total pitches.

It wasn’t all Ray’s fault, as the defense behind him faltered several times on Sunday. Paul Goldschmidt uncharacteristically had two errors that extended innings, and the Pirates were running all day on Tomas’ arm in left field.

Robbie Ray discussed the tough outing after the game.”First inning got real long. I was just getting those guys on and just wasn’t able to bounce back from that.” When asked about the defensive errors and mistakes, Ray still accepted the blame. “I mean, you still got to go out there and make pitches regardless of errors, and I didn’t do that so it’s on me.”

The D-backs rallied late in the game, however, scoring two runs in both the 8th and 9th innings to tie the game and go into extra innings. They rallied again in the 12th after Pittsburgh put two runs on the board in the top of the inning, but they ultimately fell short in the 13th inning. The Pirates won by a score of 12-10.

Post game, Hale talked about the team responding to pressure. “Right now I think we’re kind of letting the pressure overwhelm us. That’s something we work on, we talk about, but really until you get into it and you’re put into those situations, it’s not an easy spot to be in. So we have to learn to make pressure our friend at that point.”

The Pirates take two games out of three. The Arizona Diamondbacks try to get over their home woes tomorrow with Game 1 of their series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pinch hitter Zack Greinke takes the mound against Jaime Garcia.

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