The St. Louis Cardinals certainly aren't thrilled with their recent efforts at the plate.
The Reds go for a third straight road win by trying to capitalize on the Cardinals' offensive shortcomings again Tuesday night.
Cincinnati (15-12) is 3-8 on the road, but the team followed Sunday's 5-2 win at Washington with a 2-1 victory over St. Louis in the opener of this three-game series.
The Reds have hit .254 in those two wins after mustering a .187 average during an eight-game road losing streak. Baker, though, is expecting more from the team that won the NL Central last year.
"We're far from satisfied," he said.
The Cardinals (14-11) surely feel the same, on the verge of their first four-game slide since Aug. 28-31.
They've been outscored 16-4 while batting .188 over the last three games. Their .154 average with runners in scoring position during that span is a dramatic drop from their major league-leading .327 mark.
St. Louis went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position Monday.
"We were expecting that big hit, especially when we got to two outs," manager Mike Matheny said. "Those were the things we've been doing this season and kind of counting on it happening, and didn't have it (Monday).
"I don't see a theme. Guys are going about it the right way."
Among the struggling Cardinals is David Freese , hitless in his last 16 at-bats. Allen Craig , though, remains a bright spot, posting his fifth multihit effort in eight games Monday and batting .414 with runners in scoring position on the season.
St. Louis may not need much production at the plate with Jaime Garcia (2-1, 2.89 ERA) on the mound. The left-hander is 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA in seven home starts versus the Reds, and his eight overall wins against them are twice as many as any other opponent.
The left-hander didn't get a decision in the latest matchup April 8, when he allowed three runs with a season-high 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 13-4 victory.
Garcia got his first win since his season debut in a 4-2 victory at Washington on Wednesday, yielding one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Unlike Garcia, Reds scheduled starter Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 4.24) has not fared well against his opponent Tuesday. The veteran right-hander is 1-6 with a 5.58 ERA in his last 10 starts against the Cardinals, including a 5-1 defeat April 9 as he gave up four runs in six innings.
Arroyo is coming off his worst start of the year, surrendering six runs and nine hits - two homers - in six innings of an 8-1 loss at Washington on Thursday. His previous two starts ended in Cincinnati wins, yielding two runs over eight innings in each one.
Freese is 1 for 12 versus Arroyo and Yadier Molina is hitless in his last 19 at-bats against him. However, over the past three-plus seasons, Matt Holliday has hit .353 with three homers in their matchups while Jon Jay has hit .393.
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained hamstring|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 22, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|April 22, 2013||Matt Adams||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|March 24, 2013||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 22, 2013||Jason Motte||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 07, 2013||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jaime Garcia seems to save his best for the Cincinnati Reds .
The St. Louis left-hander dominated Cincinnati again with eight strong innings, Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Reds on Tuesday night.
Garcia (3-1) gave up one run on seven hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter. He improved to 7-0 in eight starts against Cincinnati at Busch Stadium and is 9-2 overall with a 3.18 ERA against them in 13 starts. He retired the last seven batters he faced and recorded 18 ground ball outs.
"They've got a really strong lineup and they take good at-bats," Garcia said. "I just try to make good pitches against them and it's been working."
Edward Mujica struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances.
Bronson Arroyo (2-3) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings for the Reds, whose win streak ended at three games. Arroyo has had four quality starts in six outings this season.
Holliday drilled a line drive over the left-field wall in the sixth inning, his third homer of the season. Carlos Beltran , who had three hits for the Cardinals, had singled with one out before Holliday went deep.
The shot left the park in a hurry.
"I hit it good with some backspin," Holliday said. "It wasn't a no-doubter, but I wasn't surprised."
Holliday's first homer since April 19 decided a well-played contest between the two NL Central rivals.
"We hate to lose it, but that was a great game," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "If we keep playing like that, and get pitching like that, we're going to win a lot of ballgames."
Holliday muscled a 3-2 offering from Arroyo into the first few rows of the stands.
Arroyo said he put the pitch in the desired location.
"The guy is a beast," Arroyo said of Holliday. "He's solid and he swings the bat about as hard as anyone in the game. There's only a handful of guys that hit the ball with such a low trajectory and get it out."
The Cardinals managed just one run in their previous 23 innings prior to the homer.
Garcia, given a 2-1 lead, set the side down in order in the seventh and eighth innings with six ground ball outs.
"With the defense we have, you want to make them hit the ball on the ground," Garcia said. "I'm confident that they'll make the plays."
Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Shin-Soo Choo, who has reached safely in 26 of 27 games this season. He brought in Derrick Robinson with a drive off the left-field wall. Choo broke out of a 2-for-20 skid with the double, his eighth of the season.
Mujica, who has taken over the closer role, needed just 19 pitches to fan Joey Votto , Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce .
"That's a tough assignment with that lineup," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He just goes out there regardless of the situation and makes pitches."
Notes: Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.10 ERA) will face Homer Bailey (1-2, 2.81) in the series finale. Lynn has a nine-game winning streak dating to Sept. 9 - the longest current run in the majors. ... By Thursday's scheduled off day, the Reds will have played a game for 20 consecutive days. ... Cincinnati has made nine errors in the last nine games after just five in the first 19 contests. ... St. Louis INF Daniel Descalso broke out of a 0-for-18 slump with a seventh-inning single. INF David Freese is 0 for 16 and has not hit a ball out of the infield in his last 13 trips to the plate. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina broke a 0-for-19 skid against Arroyo with a second-inning single.