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Now those were the real Pirates

Garrett Jones didn't hit a home run Thursday.

So, naturally, the Pirates didn't beat the Los Angeles Dodgers either.

It's too early to tell if Jones needs to hit a home run for the Pirates to win a game. But it is quite easy to determine that the Pirates team that took the field played like the one we saw all spring and the one that closed out the 2009 season with a 19-46 record.

The pitching struggled, the hitting was spotty and the defense was bad, too.

It's not what we were treated to for the first two games of the series.

Maybe it's too much expecting a solid game from them against a Dodgers team that needed to get a win and a starting pitcher the caliber of Chad Billingsley.

We knew the Pirates couldn't win them all, but a 3-0 start would have been on heck of a treat. Luckily, they won the opener, proving they weren't going to lose them all, either.

We'll get a better idea of this team in the weeks ahead. And I have a hunch we'll get a clue with how they respond on the road against the Diamondbacks.

I'm hoping to be surprised. But I'm afraid I won't be.

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