NEW YORK (AP) – Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray knows how fortunate he was to be pitching on Thursday.
His club knows how lucky they were, too.
Ray returned to a big league mound for the first time since being hit in the head with a line drive last month, striking out nine in five innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Mets 3-2.
"Very thankful that I didn't get hurt any more than I did and I'm just glad to be back out there," Ray said.
Arizona won three of four in New York, staying ahead of Colorado for the NL's top wild-card spot with the victory.
"I thought it was a really special day for us and we won a big series," manager Torey Lovullo said.
Ray was hit on the head by a 108 mph line drive off the bat of the Cardinals' Luke Voit on July 28. He suffered a concussion.
"I was moving slow," Ray said of his early symptoms. "The world was moving faster than I was."
Reinstated from the DL prior to the game, Ray (10-5) allowed one run and two hits. Sporting a small scar just above his temple, the All-Star left-hander struck out the side in the first and held New York hitless for three innings. He is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four starts against the Mets.
"It's good to have Robbie back. There's that old familiar feeling that he was giving every one of us, just pounding the zone," Lovullo said. "We really loved everything that he did. We welcome him back with open arms."
Yoenis Cespedes led off the fourth with his 17th home run, a drive that traveled 440 feet into the second deck in left.
Fernando Rodney stranded two runners in the ninth for his 30th save and third in this series.
Rafael Montero (2-9) allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
A defensive lapse cost New York with one out in the fifth inning, as Ray put down a sacrifice bunt attempt toward the left side. Third baseman Wilmer Flores failed to charge the ball and by the time he threw across the diamond the pitcher was safe, loading the bases after a video review overturned an initial out call.
"I noticed that the third baseman broke back to the bag and the pitcher was kind of in no-man's land," Ray said. "So I started busting it down the line and was able to beat it out for a hit."
Gregor Blanco and Ketel Marte followed with an RBI single and sacrifice fly, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.
Brandon Drury singled to right in the sixth, chasing Montero with a soft flare that scored Paul Goldschmidt for Arizona's third run.
The Mets cut it to 3-2 on Brandon Nimmo's RBI groundout in the seventh.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.16 ERA) is scheduled to start as Arizona hosts the last-place Giants.