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Reds' rotation steps up during Cueto's absence

Reds' rotation steps up during Cueto's absence

Reds' rotation steps up during Cueto's absence

MILWAUKEE -- When Reds ace Johnny Cueto landed on the disabled list on June 29 with a right lat strain, it would have been hard to imagine Cincinnati's starting rotation getting stronger. Reds manager Dusty Baker did not even want to think about it.

"No, I didn't really think about it," Baker said. "Joey Votto went down for 50 games last year, too. Guys pick each other up."

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But with Cueto out -- and still no timetable for his return -- the Reds' rotation has been unhittable of late. They entered Friday with a 4-1 record and 1.35 ERA in their past seven games, though Mike Leake turned in a rough performance, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings of an eventual 7-6 walk-off loss.

Thursday's winner, Tony Cingrani, moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation when Cueto went down and has found a rhythm. Since rejoining into the rotation, Cingrani is 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA in eight starts, spanning 46 2/3 innings.

The left-hander has walked 21 hitters in that span and has struck out 54, while giving up three home runs.

"We miss Johnny," Baker said. "But they've had about the same amount of quality outings. Somebody has to fulfill the rest of those innings."

Kevin Massoth 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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