It had been more than thirteen months since Edinson Volquez's last major league start.
In the time since June 1, 2009, the last time Volquez took the mound for the Reds, the former 17-game winner had Tommy John surgery and also served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs during the off-season.
Volquez made his much-anticipated return to the lineup Saturday against the Colorado Rockies.
His quick recovery from the surgery that has been known to end careers led some to question if he could return to where he left off in 2008.
Volquez answered those questions Saturday night. Yes, he can.
He went 6 complete innings allowing one run on three hits while walking two and striking out nine.
It was the performance the Reds were looking for.
If Volquez can continue to pitch in mid-season form, he could be a pivotal piece on the way to what would be the Reds' first playoff appearance in 15 years.
The only run Volquez gave up came in the first inning. He was perfect through the next five.
The Reds' hitters also had his back, scoring eight runs on five hits. The attack was led by center fielder Drew Stubbs and second baseman Brandon Phillips who each batted in three runs.
In all, Volquez threw 96 pitches before the bullpen came in and closed the door on an 8-1 victory.