CINCINNATI -- As he endured one rough start after the next, Reds rookie pitcher Cody Reed kept getting encouragement from veteran teammates and backing from manager Bryan Price. They all told him he had stuff that played in the Major Leagues.
During his no-decision from a 5-4 Reds loss to the Braves in 11 innings, Reed finally showed it. But he just had to slow down first for it to happen.
"The first two innings, I was going real quick," Reed said. "I was trying to get out there and rushing a little bit."
Reed finished with his first quality start -- completing six innings with two unearned runs, five hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He retired six of his last seven batters, including three strikeouts.
The outing didn't begin in promising fashion, however. In the second inning, Reed gave up a four-pitch walk and the Reds made two fielding errors that led to runs.
"The first time through the order with the first nine hitters, I had him for five balls on the barrel -- they just put on the barrel. And from that point on … one ball they hit really hard, and that's a great sign," Price said.
"I just thought he slowed his tempo down and started to breathe a little bit more and just went out there pitching. He wasn't muscling the ball and had a better feel for the three-pitch mix that he has. He had a really strong finish to an outing that was something we'd like to see more of, and I think we will."
Reed's 94th and final pitch of the night was a tough 88-mph slider that had Anthony Recker swinging for strike three.
"I think it almost hit him, actually," Reed said. "I think it was a defensive swing. It was 3-2 count, so I know he was trying to come unglued there, because he's a good fastball hitter. So I thought, 'This is my strikeout pitch and I need it,' and I got the swing-and-miss there. When I let go of it and I saw him swing like that, I was like, 'Ooh, if he didn't swing, it could have hit him.'"
It was the type of slider Reed was known for burying hitters with in the Minors and during Spring Training.
"That's why I don't like to talk about Cody going to Triple-A," Price said. "I just think he's a Major League pitcher, and we need to give him the opportunity to breathe a little bit up here and show what he can do."
Reed came into the night 0-4 with an 8.39 ERA in five big league starts since his promotion. He was given words of encouragement from teammates like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Ross Ohlendorf in recent weeks to keep him going.
"Just having those guys take the time to come up to me is awesome," Reed said.
On Tuesday, Reed gave himself the confidence boost he sorely needed by pitching well.
"I threw my stuff for strikes," he said. "I didn't get ahead as much as I'd like to, but that's fine. I got the outs when I needed them. Just trying to work around if I don't get ahead, or get ahead and try to get quick outs. That's what I did for the most part."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.