Injury a 'blessing in disguise' for resurgent Ray

Injury a 'blessing in disguise' for resurgent Ray

SAN FRANCISCO -- D-backs starter Robbie Ray had one of the scariest moments in baseball this year when he was hit in the head by a 108 mph line drive July 28 in St. Louis.

But after he picked up his fifth win in as many starts since returning from the disabled list with Friday night's 3-2 victory in San Francisco, Ray admitted the injury may be the key to how he's pitched.

"It's almost a blessing in disguise, to be able to take that time off and get my mind right, get my body right," Ray said. "I feel like it's helped out, honestly. I feel stronger now with everything; I feel in sync, ready to keep it going."

Ray allowed two runs in seven innings against the Giants, notching his 14th win of the season. He struck out 10, giving him 206 on the season for his second straight 200-strikeout year.

"Nobody deserves more credit for tonight than Robbie Ray. He was outstanding for seven innings," manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's really been an impressive run that he's been on since he returned."

Ray nearly lost the game on his own doing, committing an error in the sixth when he mishandled a throw from Paul Goldschmidt and allowed the go-ahead run to score. He responded by striking out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley, keeping the deficit at one. Arizona answered immediately with a two-run seventh.

"He has done that a lot this year," Lovullo said. "He just gets a little bit tougher. He has that little ingredient, that little extra gear that he goes to get when he needs it. And he's a strikeout pitcher. When he senses he can finish it off with a strikeout, he goes and gets it."

Ray added, "To shut it down right there and be able to get the team in the dugout, score some huge runs there to put us up, and then go back out there and put up a zero was big."

Ray missed four weeks with a concussion but returned Aug. 24 in New York and has dazzled, striking out 55 in 32 1/3 innings with a 1.39 ERA. What's been most impressive to Lovullo has been how he's communicated throughout the recovery process.

"Nobody knows exactly what he went through, and having been struck the way he did, you can only imagine some of the replays that were going on inside of his own head," Lovullo said. "Through the whole time that he was walking through that process, step by step, he was sharing as much information as possible with us and being as honest as possible. I think that helped the process speed up and helped his recovery.

"He's been very, very good. He told us he was good and told us he was fine, but you don't know until he starts to produce the way he has. He's walked through that and came out of the other side."

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Friday. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.