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Reds keep winning despite rotation issues

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CINCINNATI -- The defining stat line of a quality start -- at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs -- was developed in the 1980s as a way of quantifying how well a pitcher performed in a game.

The Reds have a 15-6 record when they get a quality start from their starter and 7-10 when they don't. But lately, they are winning despite a handful of subpar starts.

In nine straight games before Sunday, Reds starters have not turned in a quality performance, but the team is 6-3 in those games. The last time Cincy went nine in a row without a quality start was June 12-20, 2005.

"I hadn't noticed," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Sunday morning when asked about his rotation lately.

The rotation posted a 6.06 ERA in that nine-game stretch. Only Mike Leake completed seven innings, when he pitched into the eighth against the Braves on Wednesday, but he was charged with four earned runs in a 7-2 loss.

"That's what counts -- to win," Baker said. "I'll take a quality start, but I'll take a quality win [more]. Some guys have quality starts and don't have a win."

During Sunday's 5-1 win over the Brewers, Bronson Arroyo stopped the streak with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He also had the last quality start on April 30 vs. St. Louis.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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