It seemed that John Denny was an ideal addition to the Cincinnati Reds when he was obtained from the Philaldelphia Phillies. A religious man, he even gave his Cy Young Award in 1983 to his Little League coach.
The 33-year-old right-hander figured to be the starting pitcher Manager Pete Rose needed. But for the first month of the season, Red fans watched him pitch poorly and get into altercations with the media.
In his fourth start Friday night at Cincinnati, Denny (2-4) showed the fans and the Pittsburgh Pirates that he could still pitch, giving up just four hits and striking out seven in six innings as the Reds won, 7-2.
In his other three starts at Cincinnati this season, Denny lasted a total of 13 innings, giving up 24 hits and 15 runs.
Buddy Bell drove in three runs and Ron Oester two to provide the offense. Bell went into the game with only two runs batted in this season but doubled and tripled, and also scored twice.
Bell, who had been in a slump since he joined the Reds last July, recently had his eyes examined and was fitted with glasses. But he has not been wearing them while hitting and is 12 for 29 in the last 10 games to raise his average to .235.
Sportswriter Bruce Schoenfeld of the Cincinnati Post has filed suit against Denny, charging him with simple assault, terroristic threats and harassment in a confrontation Wednesday at Philadelphia. Denny is scheduled to face the complaint in a Philadelphia court June 2.
Meanwhile, officials of the Reds and the Post met Friday before the game and said they were satisfied with the results of the meeting but declined to reveal specifics.
This season, the Cardinals don't hit well enough to take advantage of wild pitchers.
In this game at Atlanta, Rick Mahler walked seven, but he gave up only four hits.
Ozzie Virgil, hitting only .146 going into the game, and Bob Horner each drove in two runs to make it easy for Mahler, who improved his record to 3-4.
"My control was terrible," Mahler said. "But we were so good defensively, they turned the walks into only two runs."
Houston 9, Chicago 6--Dickie Thon's pinch two-run double highlighted a six-run, sixth-inning rally at Houston that enabled the Astros to overcome two Jody Davis home runs.
The Astros trailed, 6-3, going into the sixth, but they jumped on Dennis Eckersley and two successors for seven hits. It was the third loss in a row for the Cubs.
Montreal 3, San Diego 2--Mike Fitzgerald, Mitch Webster and Hubie Brooks homered to lead the Expos past the Padres at San Diego.
Fitzgerald led off the eighth inning with his fourth home run, off Andy Hawkins (2-3), breaking a 1-1 tie. Hawkins entered the seventh with a one-hitter and a 1-0 lead, but Mitch Webster tied the game with a leadoff homer, his third of the season. It extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Brooks hit his eighth homer with one out in the ninth off reliever Lance McCullers, tying him for the National League lead.
Steve Garvey homered for the Padres, his seventh of the season.
Philadelphia 3, San Francisco 0--Steve Carlton and Kent Tekulve combined for a five-hitter, with Carlton earning his 316th career victory, as the Phillies blanked the Giants at San Francisco.
The 41-year-old Carlton (2-5) struck out four and walked none before leaving in the eighth after one-out singles by Bob Brenly and Rob Thompson. But Tekulve struck out Joel Youngblood and got Luis Quinones to ground out, then worked a scoreless ninth.