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Pirates 9, Reds 1

The Reds didn't look very impressive in this series. Brandon Phillips is a tremendous defensive second baseman who didn't play like one; Johnny Cueto racks up strikeouts, but seems to have problems giving up extra-base hits (the Pirates had four against him, including two homers); and the Reds' management is (as some of us expected) shooting itself in the foot by filling their lineup with guys like Paul Bako, Corey Patterson, Norris Hopper and Juan Castro, and by playing Jeff Keppinger at first base when they could just as easily put him at short. The Reds are a very talented team, but they're going to get buried by manager Dusty Baker and general manager Wayne Krivsky if those two don't make better personnel choices.

There was lots to like about this game. The Pirates were the first team to really get to Cueto. Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit continued their hot-hitting ways. Jose Bautista made a spectacular stop to start a double play - if you missed it, check out SportsCenter, because you're going to see it there. The bullpen now hasn't allowed a run since that 15-inning marathon on Wednesday. And the Bucs are back to .500.

Jason Bay homered yet again, and his season line is now .282/.440/.538. For reference, his career-best season came in 2005, when he hit .306/.402/.559. It's obviously premature to say that he's back, and it's fair to point out that he hit well last April too, but his performance so far is consistent with the theory that his collapse beginning in June of last year happened because of injuries and not really for any other reason. In any case, these first dozen games have been extremely encouraging.