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Reds flashing leather over season's first two months

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CINCINNATI -- Going into their series finale against the Cardinals on Sunday night, the Reds led the Majors with a .989 fielding percentage, as well as having committed the fewest errors in baseball, with 19. Cincinnati also led the National League in ultimate zone rating (20.4), an advanced metric used to quantify the number of runs saved through defense.

Manager Bryan Price said he's pleased with the defensive effort of his club, a bright spot amid a season that has been trying to this point due to several injuries to key players.

"I'm very satisfied by that, and the players must be as well," Price said Saturday. "These guys work at it, not just in Spring Training, but if you go out early out on the field, you'll see guys taking ground balls and working on their defense. … So I think it's through having the athletes and the work and the investment they put into it. It tells you how much they appreciate the importance of good defense."

Zack Cozart has been excellent at shortstop, going into Sunday's action ranked second among all NL shortstops with a 5.7 ultimate zone rating.

Brandon Phillips entered Sunday leading all Major League second basemen with a 4.3 ultimate zone rating, and tied for fourth in the Majors in fielding percentage among second basemen (.995). He had committed just one error in 203 chances.

"There's nobody better to watch, really, than to go out and watch Brandon play," Price said. "He practices all of the plays that look like they're almost impossible to make other than the way he makes them. … These things that he does that are so miraculous, there are people that might say, 'Oh, he's hot-dogging it,' but he's not . … He works on things he may have to do during the game, not just the routine plays."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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