"This is a dangerous series right here," Baker said prior to Monday's 4-1 loss. "We're in first place. Now we're the hunted instead of the hunter. Let's see how we respond and if we can pad this lead."
With Monday's series-opening win, Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to four games and climbed back to .500 (24-24), closing to within three games of division-leading Cincinnati.
"This doesn't mean we can sit back and say, 'We've got it figured out,'" Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "But it's been definitely good to be able to break through. We hope to keep this momentum going."
Cincinnati has still won eight of its last 10 contests. On Tuesday, the Reds will turn to right-hander Homer Bailey, who has submitted seven quality starts in his last eight outings.
"If we lose and I have a quality start, it was for nothing," said Bailey, who is 3-3 with a 4.19 ERA. "As long as we're winning, I don't care about quality starts."
Pittsburgh will counter with Charlie Morton, for whom the Pirates have scored just 2.75 runs per game. Morton, 2-5 with a 4.27 ERA this season, has just three victories in his last 16 starts.
Reds: Cozart searching for consistency
Shortstop Zack Cozart has been streaky during his rookie campaign. He was 1-for-9 in his past two games before Monday's contest, in which he didn't start and struck out as a pinch-hitter. Before that, he batted .303 (10-for-33) while hitting safely in seven of eight games. Prior to that stretch, he was mired in a 2-for-26 slump.
Overall, Cozart is batting .242 with five home runs and 12 RBIs.
"It's a cat-and-mouse game all year. It will keep being that way," Cozart said. "Scouting reports are all over the place. At Triple-A, a team might not even know who you are, much less [have] seen you hit or struggle with a certain pitch. They adjusted to me here once I was seeing the ball better. I had to adjust to them once they started throwing me a certain way."
Pirates: Cruz placed on restricted list
Pittsburgh placed right-hander Juan Cruz on the restricted list prior to Monday's contest and called up southpaw Doug Slaten from Triple-A Indianapolis. Cruz returned home to the Dominican Republic to attend to some personal business.
"It's something that came to a crossroads for Juan; it was time for him to get involved in a personal matter," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who anticipated that Cruz could return for this weekend's series in Milwaukee.
Slaten posted a 2-0 record, with eight saves and a 0.36 ERA in 20 appearances for Indianapolis this season.
The Reds have a Major League-best 21-5 record when they hit at least one home run in a game.
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has driven in six runs in his last three games.