It had been a while since Chris Reed won a game as a starting pitcher.
Before being selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, he spent three years as a reliever at Stanford University and started only two games during his college career. The Dodgers looked to make him a starter in the professional ranks, but after six outings this season, a win remained elusive.
In fact, it had been since his senior year in high school in Reseda, Calif., that Reed earned a win as a starter.
The Dodgers' No. 5 prospect finally earned that first pro win Sunday, tossing seven dominant innings in Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga's 2-0 blanking of the Visalia Rawhide.
Reed (1-2), who carried a 5.40 ERA into Sunday's contest, allowed four hits and struck out a career-high eight without walking a batter. The seven-inning performance also was the longest outing of his brief pro career.
"It feels good. I was getting tired of losing," Reed said. "When a game starts, you want to give your team a good chance to win early. So I tried to get comfortable early. Some good defense behind me helped, too. It was a good team win overall."
The 21-year-old left-hander said the biggest key to his success against the Rawhide was the lack of free passes. He had issued eight walks over 10 innings in his previous two starts.
By making Visalia put the ball in play, Reed set down 16 consecutive hitters between the first and seventh innings. The string ended when D-backs' No. 4 prospect Chris Owings singled.
"It's the greatest feeling. You're in the zone," Reed said. "When things are going that way, I'm able to stay in the windup, and I've always been more comfortable there."
With four starts of at least four innings under his belt, the transition from reliever to starter may appear to be complete. But Reed acknowledged that he's still experiencing some growing pains.
"It's going well," he said. "There have been plenty of bumps here and there. The biggest difference is maintaining focus for an hour, an hour and a half, however long a start lasts, instead of just the 15 minutes an inning takes as a reliever.
"I've been working on my fastball command mostly, building up my pitch count. I've had confidence in my changeup but didn't have to throw it before, so I'm getting used to using that more."
Former Midwest League All-Star Tony Delmonico drove in both runs for the Quakes with a sacrifice fly in the second and a single in the sixth. Rancho Cucamonga has won two in a row and three of its last four games.
Owings and Jonathan Griffin both went 2-for-4 for Visalia, with Owings raising his average to .329. That ranks second among California League shortstops behind Reds No. 2 prospect Billy Hamilton of Bakersfield.