Right-hander Rick Ownbey, making his first major league start in more than 18 months, fell behind every batter he faced but still drew praise from Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog.
“I liked what I saw,” Herzog said after watching Ownbey team with Todd Worrell for a five-hit, 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. “A lot of his pitches were close. He wasn’t getting too many of the calls.”
Ownbey, who walked four and struck out two in six-plus innings, called his 110-delivery effort satisfying but one that could stand improvement.
“It’s such a thrill to be with this club,” Ownbey, 28, said. “The fact that I didn’t pitch well and still won was a big plus. I didn’t feel nervous, but I did feel body tension. I have to pitch loose, and I’m sure, as the season wears on, I’ll be able to pitch a lot better than I did today.”
Chicago right-hander Dennis Eckersley yielded only four hits--all singles.
One of the Cardinals’ blows was Ozzie Smith’s single, which accounted for two runs that snapped a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning. Setting up the hit were Jack Clark’s leadoff single, a walk to Andy Van Slyke and an Eckersley delivery that got inside and hit Mike Heath in the middle of the back to load the bases.
“We’re just not hitting; our pitching’s been good,” Chicago Manager Jim Frey said. “You can’t be getting eight walks and not scoring any more runs than we did today.”
Houston 4, San Francisco 0--Bob Knepper blanked the Giants on five hits, while Kevin Bass and Glenn Davis had run-scoring singles to lead the Astros to the win at Houston.
Knepper, who struck out five, extended his Astrodome string of innings without issuing a walk to 30. He finished last season with 21 consecutive walkless innings at home.
Vida Blue struck out five and walked two in 5 innings but failed in an attempt to get his 200th career win.
Houston’s Dickie Thon doubled in another run with his 500th major league hit.
Montreal 6, Atlanta 3--Rookie Andres Galarraga hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs to back the combined six-hit pitching of Jay Tibbs and Tim Burke as the Expos upended the Braves at Atlanta.
Tibbs allowed four hits in six innings to earn the win. Burke, despite allowing a two-run homer to Chris Chambliss in the ninth, earned the save with three innings of relief.