Much like his first month managing the Cincinnati Reds, Dusty Baker’s latest return to the Bay Area didn’t go according to plan.
The former San Francisco Giants skipper hopes for better results on Saturday, when his slumping club continues its three-game series against the streaking Giants.
Baker managed the Giants for 10 seasons from 1993-2002, and made his first returns to San Francisco while managing the Chicago Cubs from 2003-06. He’s back in the Bay Area this weekend - this time with the Reds (9-15), who have stumbled out of the gate.
Baker said he was excited to be back at the ballpark where he managed the Giants to the 2002 World Series. He was expecting more than 30 family members and friends for each game.
“I don’t care where you’re from, home is home,” Baker said.
While Baker got a warm welcome from the crowd at AT&T Park, the Giants (11-13) weren’t as kind. San Francisco pitchers allowed only four hits and struck out 11 in the 3-1 victory, which sent Baker’s Reds to their 11th loss in 14 games.
Baker held slumping Brandon Phillips out of the starting lineup after he had gone 6-for-38 (.158) in his previous 10 games. The maneuver may have struck a chord with the second baseman, who homered in a pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth. He’s expected to start again on Saturday.
“Brandon hasn’t been swinging well lately,” Baker told the Reds’ official Web site. “Maybe Brandon will get going. He was aggressive and looked like the Brandon I know.”
While Baker’s current club is still looking for a way to win, his old one appears to have found it. San Francisco has won three in a row and five of seven after a 6-11 start.
Giants starting pitchers have posted a 0.84 ERA during the three-game winning streak.
“The pitching we’re going against - (Greg) Maddux, Chris Young and (Aaron) Harang - you need your starters to go out there and put up zeros,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “They responded. They are giving us a chance.”
Kevin Correia (1-3, 4.21 ERA) will try to continue San Francisco’s run of strong starts. The right-hander limited one of the NL’s most productive offenses to three runs in six innings on Monday, but still suffered a 4-2 loss to Arizona.
Correia is 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA in eight career games, including three starts, against the Reds.
He’ll match up against Cincinnati’s Matt Belisle (0-1, 11.25), who was tagged for seven runs - five earned - and 12 hits over four innings in his season debut on Monday - a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA in eight career games against the Giants, including two starts.