This article is devoted to numerical modeling of anisotropic damage and plasticity in saturated quasi-brittle materials such as rocks and concrete. The damaged materials are represented by an isotropic poroelastic matrix containing a number of families of microcracks. Based on previous works, a discrete thermodynamic approach is proposed. Each family of microcracks exhibits frictional sliding along crack surfaces as well as crack propagation. The frictional sliding is described by a Coulomb–Mohr-type plastic criterion by taking into account the effect of fluid pressure through a generalized effective stress concept. The damage evolution is entirely controlled by and coupled with the frictional sliding. The effective elastic properties as well as Biot's coefficients of cracked porous materials are determined as functions of induced damage. The inelastic deformation due to frictional sliding is also taken into account. The procedure for the identification of the model's parameters is presented. The proposed model is finally applied to study both mechanical and poromechanical responses of a typical porous brittle rock in drained and undrained compression tests as well as in interstitial pressure controlled tests. The main features of material behaviors are well reproduced by the model. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.