FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Lohse needed to offer a good indication of how ready he was. With a starting slot seemingly his to win or lose, Lohse can't win it if he can't pitch, and a strained hamstring has delayed his progress.

The troublesome hamstring didn't delay it much, though.

In a real test of his readiness, Lohse pitched as if in midseason form Saturday in holding the Red Sox to three hits and no runs over five innings. His 69-pitch outing included no walks and three strikeouts.

"I felt really strong," he said. "I felt like I was able to throw all of my pitches around the zone; I was getting ahead of guys. That's the key to the game, right there."

The 28-year-old Lohse, who pitched in a simulated game earlier in the week, said he'd been trying to heed pitching coach Dick Pole's advice to throw strikes early in the count.

Pole's advice falls into what Lohse might call the simple-but-effective category: If he jumps ahead in the count, he forces hitters to swing at his pitch. The edge goes to Lohse, whose stuff has long drawn raves.

"That's a big thing for me -- to get ahead of guys," he said. "That's the key."

Indeed it was -- at least in this 2-1 win over the Red Sox, anyway.

"He was outstanding," manager Jerry Narron said. "He was very efficient. He threw strikes, and he threw some good changeups along with everything else. He was pretty good today."

Armed, not yet ready: General manager Wayne Krivsky, who watched Lohse's outing here, said he's liked what he's seen of the starting pitching the Reds have used in Spring Training.

With one spot open in the rotation, Krivsky sees six pitchers with a legitimate chance to nail down that spot, including Lohse.

"There's some depth there," Krivsky said. "You look at other teams in our division, there's no perfect team out there, but I don't think there's a dominant one, either.

"So everybody's trying to tweak their rosters right now to give themselves a little edge and cover up the holes they might have.

Those tweaks will need to get the Opening Day roster down to 25 players, a total that will include five starters and an assortment of long and short relievers. With 21 pitchers still in camp, most of them will end up as trade bait, be released or sent to Minor Leagues.

Those are the choices that Krivsky, as well as other general managers, is now facing.

"Somebody's gotta make the team Opening Day," he said. "The guys that don't [make it] need to go there and impress and work their way back and open some eyes down there in Louisville and put themselves in position to help us during the year."

The buildup, of course, is for Opening Day. The pitchers remaining in camp want to be on the Opening Day roster and not waiting to pitch for Triple-A Louisville.

Yet Krivsky has some wise words for those pitchers who won't make the 25-man roster for Opening Day.

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"It's the old baseball cliché: 'It's not where you start, it's where you finish,'" he said.

And the question is: In June 1971, the Reds were no-hit twice that month. Who were the two pitchers who accomplished the feats? (See answer below)

Did you know: Hall of Famer Cy Young no-hit the Reds, 6-0, on Sept. 18, 1897, in the first game of a doubleheader. But did you know that the then 30-year-old Young pitched his no-hitter against the Reds in Cleveland, which played in the National League under the team name "Spiders?"

Reds notes: Outfielder Ryan Freel (sore hamstring) remains a few days away from getting back into action. ... Reliever Gary Majewski (sore shoulder) looked good in throwing a bullpen session, but Narron said Majewski is at least a week away from pitching in a Grapefruit League game. Narron might use Majewski in a Minor League game in five or six days. ... Outfielder Bubba Crosby's strained left calf is coming along. Crosby ran on the treadmill Saturday. ... Reliever Bill Bray, who had a stiff shoulder, is fine. ... Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. ... In the seventh inning of the opener, Cincinnati firefighter John Winfrey will sing "God Bless America." ... Outfielder Jay Bruce, a former No. 1 pick and a top prospect in the Reds farm system, pinch-hit in the ninth inning Saturday. Bruce grounded into a double play.

The answer is: On June 3, 1971, Cubs left-hander Ken Holtzman spun a no-hitter, beating the Reds, 1-0. Twenty days later, Phillies right-hander Rick Wise duplicated Holtzman's feat, crafting a 4-0 gem. It was the only time in the team's storied history that it was no-hit twice in one season.

Quotable: "I wouldn't say pressure, because, I mean, this isn't making or breaking anything. It's just kinda getting the experience of being up here." -- Bruce, on getting another chance Saturday to travel with the Major League team

Next up: Right-hander Aaron Harang takes the mound Sunday for the Reds. Harang will face Braves right-hander Buddy Carlyle in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Ed Smith Stadium.