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“Pretty consistent,” Acta said. “From his first start, he’s been solid for us.”

Redding looked perfectly at ease on the mound last night, his only mistakes coming against the opposing pitcher of all people. Wells singled to right with two on and two out in the second, driving in St. Louis’ first run. The right-hander later singled to left, raising his average to a hefty .308.

Otherwise, Redding was in complete control, scattering seven hits while matching a career high with eight strikeouts (a mark he set only six days ago against the New York Mets).

The 29-year-old has been enjoying every minute of his return to the big leagues. And based on the way he has been pitching, he won’t be considered a mere fill-in much longer.

“I told myself after my [shoulder] surgery in ‘05 that if I got back to this level, it was going to be very hard for somebody to take it away from me again,” Redding said. “It’s something that I didn’t grab a hold of the first time I was up here. I kind of took it for granted. I don’t know if I’m on a vendetta or a mission or whatever, but I’m just trying to get better every start.”