Straily another pleasant Reds rotation surprise

Straily another pleasant Reds rotation surprise

CINCINNATI -- When Reds manager Bryan Price looked on his office whiteboard Wednesday morning at his list of probable starting pitchers, one thing really stood out. Four of the five pitchers' names weren't expected to be there when Spring Training started.

One of those surprises, Dan Straily, provided another solid start for the Reds on Wednesday afternoon during a 7-4 win over the Giants. Straily gave up three runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. It was the fourth straight quality start for the rotation, one shy of the staff's longest streak from last season.

"Our job is to go out there and keep us in the ballgame as long as possible," said Straily, who is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in his four starts. "I always want to go six innings with two runs or less. I know a quality start is three runs or less but I just like to keep the standards higher."

Straily, who was claimed off waivers after camp broke from Spring Training, is in the rotation with John Lamb, Tim Adleman, Alfredo Simon and Brandon Finnegan. Only Finnegan was projected to be in the starting five. Simon was signed as a free agent on March 17, but has struggled thus far. Adleman, who was in his first big league camp this year, started the streak with six strong innings vs. the Pirates on Sunday in his debut.

The Reds' staff has the second-highest ERA in the Majors at 5.35. But during the last four games, Cincinnati's rotation has a 3.32 ERA.

Price on victory over Giants

"It's guys seizing opportunity," Price said. "Dan Straily, he's found a place to pitch and get some opportunity -- be it as a bullpen piece or be it as a starter. He's taken both opportunities and has done extremely well with them. Adleman had his one shot, made a great impression and it gives him another opportunity to pitch. Those are the things that you love to see when these guys get an opportunity and make the most of it."

Straily was claimed off waivers from the Padres, who had just traded for him from the Astros, and was initially expected to be a long man in the bullpen before he replaced struggling fill-in Tim Melville.

San Francisco notched two solo homers off Straily -- Brandon Belt leading off the second inning and Conor Gillaspie with two outs in the fourth. With one out in the seventh, Straily gave up a pair of one-out singles and a walk to load the bases. Tony Cingrani picked him up by getting a sacrifice fly from Buster Posey and nothing else.

"When I got here, I was just thankful to have a job at the beginning of the season and it was in the big leagues," Straily said. "The way the last week went down for me in Spring Training, I just knew at some point there would be a need. As a long guy, your job is to eat up innings when games are out of control. At some point, you're going to be needed to start a game. I was ready for that."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.