<
>

Dunn, Bruce power Reds past Pirates

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Globs of white shaving cream clung to Jay Bruce's forehead, clogged his ears and dangled from his chin.

No better way to end his big day.

Bruce went 3-for-3 in his eagerly awaited debut, getting a standing ovation every time he came to the plate Tuesday night, and Adam Dunn hit a milestone three-run homer during the Cincinnati Reds' 9-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As soon as it ended, Bruce got splattered with shaving cream courtesy of catcher David Ross, who sneaked in during an on-field interview for the traditional in-your-face celebration.

"Ah man, I don't think you can write it any better than this," the 21-year-old outfielder said.

Maybe in a Disney script.

The Reds beat the Pirates for the first time in four games this season and wiped away the aftertaste of their 2-5 trip to Los Angeles and San Diego, which ended with an 18-inning loss on Sunday. A pair of Texans led the way.

Dunn's three-run shot in the fifth off Ian Snell (2-4) was his eighth in his last 12 games. With 252 career homers, he moved ahead of Ted Kluszewski -- the bare-armed "Big Klu" -- for most by a left-handed Reds hitter.

The homer changed the game completely.

"He left the ball out for Dunn to hit, then kind of fell apart," Pirates manager John Russell said.

Dunn later added a run-scoring single as the Reds pulled ahead 9-3 and then held on in the ninth.

The rest of the day belonged to Bruce, another Texan who is the Reds' top prospect. He had a pair of singles, a double, two walks, a stolen base and a pair of RBIs. He drew one standing ovation after another and made it look so easy.

Felt that way, too.

"It's so much the same as the minors," said Bruce, who was batting .364 in Triple-A. "They've just got bigger stands, more fans and better uniforms."

Pittsburgh couldn't take advantage of an off-night by rookie Johnny Cueto (3-5), who lasted only five innings and was in line for a loss until Dunn connected. The Pirates stranded 11 runners in the first six innings.

Adam LaRoche led Pittsburgh with a sacrifice fly and a two-run homer in the ninth. Ronny Paulino also had a two-out solo shot in the ninth off Jeremy Affeldt. Francisco Cordero came on with a runner aboard and retired Freddy Sanchez on a fly ball, getting his 11th save in 13 chances.

At the outset, the focus was on Bruce's debut. Teammates had a little fun, tricking him into running onto the field alone for the start of the game -- Bruce caught on after a few steps.

The crowd of 17,964 gave him a standing ovation and yelled "BRUUUUCE!" when he came to bat in the bottom of the first. Dozens of cameras flashed as fans recorded his four-pitch walk for posterity.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Bruce said. "I was just waiting, taking it all in. It was great."

Bruce got another standing ovation when he singled to left field in his next plate appearance and again when he singled home a run in the sixth as the Reds pulled away. He completed his big night with a run-scoring double in the seventh.

"You can see why he was highly touted," manager Dusty Baker said. "He was tearing it up down there. Now he comes up here, and that's one of the finer debuts I've seen. This is a very happy occasion for us."

Bruce was one of three rookies in Cincinnati's starting lineup. Rookie first baseman Joey Votto also had three hits.

Since his 10-strikeout debut, Cueto has looked more like a 22-year-old rookie. He needed 119 pitches to get through five innings Tuesday, giving up nine hits and a pair of walks. He left with Pittsburgh up 3-0.

Snell walked three consecutive batters with one out in the fifth and then gave up Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly. Dunn's homer high into the right-field stands, his 14th of the season, put the Reds ahead to stay 4-3.

"I collapsed," Snell said. "I was going good for the first couple of innings and just fell apart. I can't let that happen."

Game notes
Snell walked a career-high seven batters in five-plus innings. ... The Pirates activated shortstop Jack Wilson, sidelined since the third game of the season by a strained left calf. He went 3-for-5. ... Reds outfielder Corey Patterson pinch-hit for Cueto in the fifth and flied out, extending his slump to 0-for-18. ... Catcher Paul Bako snapped an 0-for-21 slump, the worst of his career.