And believe it or not, he looked pretty good.
In Cincinnati's 6-1 win over the Houston Astros, Cueto picked up the win after going five innings and allowing just five hits and striking out five.
"It's good to see Cueto come back and throw like he did," said Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who helped his starting pitcher out with four runs batted in on night. "We think if he can come back and pitch like he has when he was healthy, we're obviously getting a No. 1 [starter] back. Not a lot of teams can say that. I'm pumped to have him back. He's fun to play behind."
After a quick first inning, Cozart got the Reds on the board with a two-run bomb, his 11th of the year. Two innings later, with the bass loaded, Cozart singled home two more runs to push the lead to 4-0.
Cueto kept the Astros at bay. He allowed just three hits in the first four innings before Houston threatened in the fifth. After Chris Carter lined out to begin the inning, Carlos Corporan and L.J. Hoes hit back-to-back singles to put runners on. After a force out and a walk, Jose Altuve stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Cueto struck him out to end the inning and his outing.
"I don't have words to describe it. It's a really amazing feeling for me," Cueto said via translator. "For that long a time without pitching, and I came into today feeling really great. I feel really good today."
Jay Bruce ended the Reds scoring with a two-run single in the fifth inning to make it 6-0.
The win, coupled with losses from Pittsburgh and St. Louis, put Cincinnati just two and a half games back of the NL Central lead with 11 games to play in the regular season. The Reds still have two, three-game series' with the Pirates before the season ends.
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