Reds 6

(14-10, 8-5 away)

Pirates 2

(13-10, 8-4 home)

    1:05 PM ET, March 23, 2006

    McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 020400000 6 - -
    PIT 10000010 - 2 - -

    Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh 2

    BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) -- Maybe facing his former club was all left-hander Dave Williams needed to show the Cincinnati Reds why they traded for him.

    Williams limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to an unearned run and two hits over three innings, and Brian Buchanan, a non-roster outfielder, had another big day with three hits and four RBI in the Reds' 6-2 victory Thursday.

    The game was delayed by rain for a half-hour in the fourth inning and was called before the Pirates could bat in the ninth when the rain resumed, shortly after Pittsburgh reliever Ryan Vogelsong hit Reds catcher David Ross in the helmet with a pitch.

    "I'm glad we got out of it without anyone getting hurt," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.

    Williams, traded during the offseason for first baseman Sean Casey, had been roughed up for 16 hits and 11 earned runs in seven innings over his previous two starts. Partly because of his poor spring, Williams had fallen to the No. 5 spot in manager Jerry Narron's rotation.

    But Williams frequently worked ahead in the count against the Pirates and walked only one after walking seven in his three most recent starts. Williams was the Pirates' top winner last season, going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA on a 95-loss team, but he has a 7.20 ERA this spring.

    "It's kind of a good feeling I have, knowing that the Reds are giving me this opportunity," Williams said. "Baseball is about taking advantage of your opportunities. I can't say the Pirates didn't when I was there. But the situation I'm in here, I feel like they're counting on me and some other guys, and I'm up to the challenge."

    Williams and relievers Ryan Wagner, Rick White, Jung Keun Bong and Justin Germano held the Pirates to two runs and seven hits, with four hits off Germano in two innings.

    Pirates rookie starter Paul Maholm was less effective, giving up six hits and six runs over four innings. He allowed a pair of two-run doubles to Buchanan, in the second and fourth, and Tony Womack's two-run homer down the right-field line in a four-run fourth.

    Despite being in Reds' minor league camp, Buchanan has had a big spring -- a .552 average (16-of-29), six doubles, a homer and 11 RBI. His average is second only to the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez among all major leaguers with 20 or more at-bats.

    Maholm will face the Reds again in his first start of the season April 6 in Cincinnati.

    "It's good and bad -- you don't want to show them everything you got, but I'm not going any tricks at you," Maholm said. "I'm going to do the same thing each and every outing, compete and go after you. I'm not going to try to do anything different."

    Game notes

    The Pirates' four relievers -- Giovanni Carrara, Mike Gonzalez, Terry Adams and Ryan Vogelsong -- shut out the Reds over the final five innings. ... Pirates RHPs Victor Santos and Brandon Duckworth, competing for the final spot in the rotation, will pitch Saturday against the Phillies, with Santos expected to start.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press