The Nationals' No. 11 prospect allowed two hits over a season-high eight innings as the Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals crushed visiting Lynchburg, 8-0, to complete a three-game sweep.
Ray (2-2) matched a career high with nine strikeouts and walked just one batter.
A 10th-round pick out of Brentwood High School in Tennessee in 2010, Ray did not join the P-Nats until May while working on his mechanics at extended spring training.
"I needed to stay more compact," he said. "Things were flying open and I was kind of getting away from what I needed to do to be successful."
The results were mixed at best in his first three Carolina League outings: The 20-year-old southpaw gave up 14 runs on 21 hits while striking out six over 12 innings. He yielded three runs over 12 1/3 frames in his next two starts leading up to Sunday's matinee, however.
Ray started strongly against the Hillcats, retiring the first seven batters before yielding a one-out triple in the third inning to catcher Braeden Schlehuber. Unfazed, he set down the next seven Hillcats.
David Rohm ended that string with a fifth-inning double. The only other baserunner the Hillcats managed was Tommy La Stella, who drew a leadoff walk in the seventh but was erased on a double play. Ray faced two batters over the minimum before reliever Shane McCatty pitched a perfect ninth.
"I was concentrating on pounding the fastball inside," Ray said. "My changeup was actually a little off today, so I kind of stayed away from that but used the curveball as an off-speed pitch. I'm really happy with how things worked out today."
Rick Hague provided the bulk of Ray's run support, going 2-for-4 with a second-inning homer and five RBIs. Zach Walters contributed a two-run shot in the first as Potomac provided Ray with a sizable cushion.
Blaine Sims (0-1) took the loss in his first start of the season, allowing seven runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over five innings for the Hillcats, who committed four errors.
The P-Nats have won four in a row to climb within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Hillcats, who have dropped six straight.