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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.