05/12/2013 5:35 PM ET
Phillips, Reds rock pink gear to honor moms
By Mark Sheldon and Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips has become known for his flashy defense at second base and his ability to excite at the plate. He knows none of that would be possible without his mom, which is why Phillips was excited to be among several teammates that once again broke out the pink bats in honor of Mother's Day on Sunday.
"I love representing my mom," Phillips said. "If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't be the athlete and the man I am today. It's to show all the moms out there that we think about them, and we try to represent and show the love towards them. That's what it's all about."
Sunday marked the eighth straight Mother's Day when members of the Reds and the rest of Major League Baseball wore pink equipment and took to the plate with pink bats. The pink is about honoring mothers, but it's also part of MLB's effort to raise breast cancer awareness. As part of the day's events, the Reds also welcomed Fairfield Township resident Josie Shuler, who was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2008, as an honorary bat girl.
Among the players to use the specialty bats were Phillips, who also wore pink spikes, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Zack Cozart. Xavier Paul used a pink bat to knock a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning as the Reds beat the Brewers, 5-1.
Phillips said the players were all aware what Sunday meant to mothers and those affected by breast cancer, and he was happy to support the cause.
"It represents a lot of things more than just Mother's Day, but for us to go out and represent all the moms out there, I know they pay attention to it, and I know they love it," Phillips said. "It's just a beautiful day for them to be high on life and let them know everyone thinks about their mom."
Reds keep winning despite rotation issues
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.
• The Reds made it official by announcing that ace Johnny Cueto would have his second rehab assignment start on Tuesday. Cueto, on the disabled list since April 15 because of a strained right lat muscle, will again pitch for Class A Dayton and face West Michigan.
• Left-handed reliever Manny Parra, out since April 26 because of a strained left pectoral muscle, will begin his rehab assignment on Monday. Parra will join left fielder Chris Heisey (right hamstring), who is also beginning his rehab at Double-A Pensacola.
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.