06/01/12 8:13 PM ET
Baker recounts squaring off vs. Astros' Richard
By Clark Goble / MLB.com
In his third at-bat that day, Baker hit his 30th home run off the Astros' J.R. Richard, who became friends with Baker when they were teenagers. The Astros inducted Richard into their Walk of Fame on Friday afternoon, and afterward, Richard came down to the Reds' clubhouse to talk with Baker, the Reds' manager.
Baker said the two have remained good friends after all these years.
"It's good to see him. It's good to see him looking good too," Baker said. "I'm glad they're honoring him tonight. He was one of the best there was."
Baker's career batting average against Richard was .157 (11-for-70) and his slugging percentage was .200. Baker hit one career home run off Richard: the one on the final day of the 1977 season.
Baker struck out against Richard 24 times, more than when facing any other pitcher in his career.
"He didn't give me any mercy," Baker said.
On July 30, 1980, Richard had a stroke and collapsed. The stroke ended his Major League career. Baker remembered visiting Richard in the hospital.
"He was always in good spirits," Baker said. "He seems to be in good spirits now too."
Reds try to keep momentum going after day off
HOUSTON -- After playing games on 20 consecutive days, the Reds finally had a day off in Houston on Thursday.
Manager Dusty Baker said he hopes his players can quickly reacquire the momentum they gathered over the stretch, when the Reds went 12-8.
"A lot of times when you just go, go, go, go, go, go and then stop, it kind of hits you for a while," Baker said.
He was also concerned about the fact that the Reds have another day off on Monday, this time in Cincinnati.
On Tuesday, the Reds start a nine-game homestand with a three-game series against the Pirates. The Reds lost two of three in Pittsburgh earlier in the week.
The Reds' 3.29 team ERA in May was the lowest for any calendar month since July 2010.
First baseman Joey Votto was back in the lineup Friday after not starting in Wednesday's series finale against the Pirates. It was his first missed start since Aug. 23 of last season. Votto pinch-hit on Wednesday, extending his consecutive games played streak to 177.
Votto is batting .325 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs on the season.
• The Reds announced Friday that next Saturday's game against the Tigers at Great American Ball Park is a sellout, with standing-room only tickets still available.
First pitch is set for 4:10 p.m.. It will be the fourth sellout of Great American Ball Park this season and the 69th overall.
The first 20,000 fans on Saturday will receive a Reds' grilling set that includes a spatula, tongs and brush.
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.