Manager Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds thought it was a good idea at the time. It didn't turn out to be one.
After former Dodger Jerry Reuss pitched six strong innings in an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers last Thursday, Rose, in need of another left-handed starter, decided to give the veteran a shot.
Reuss, who had not pitched that well for the Reds' Nashville Triple-A farm club, was brought up to face the slumping New York Mets Tuesday night at Cincinnati.
The Mets knocked Reuss out in the second inning and, with rookie David Cone pitching a four-hitter for his first major league victory, blasted the Reds, 6-2.
After scoring twice in the first inning, the Mets scored four more runs in the second, two on Tim Teufel's double, and went on to end a four-game losing streak and win for the eighth time in the last 22 games.
Reuss, 37, underwent elbow surgery last July and won only two games last season. He was dropped by the Dodgers, although he pitched rather well in spring training. The Reds signed him to a minor league contract.
He was shelled in a couple of minor league starts, but against the Tigers he gave up only two runs in six innings. Rose, unhappy with the work of Tom Browning, his only left-handed starter, sent Bill Landrum, a right-hander, to the minors and brought up Reuss.
Reuss gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 innings, walking one and striking out one. All but one of the runs was earned.
"I didn't last as long as I wanted to and I didn't get the results I had hoped for," Reuss said. "But, in five days, I'll be back out there and we'll see what happens."
Rose said Reuss had bad location with his pitches, but Reuss jokingly disagreed.
"There was great location," Reuss said. "Great location over shortstop, great location in the gap. It was great location for the hitters."
The big lead enabled Cone to breeze. He lost his shutout in the eighth, when Paul O'Neill and Kal Daniels hit consecutive home runs.
The Mets have been bickering among themselves, and Manager Davey Johnson has expressed anger at management and the players.
He was upset with management because he wasn't consulted when right-hander John Mitchell was brought up as a replacement for injured Bob Ojeda.
"Mitchell is of no use to me now," Johnson told the New York Daily News. "I guess when you're under .500, the manager's opinion is no longer valued. They had confidence in my judgment in the past."
After the Reds clobbered the Mets, 12-2, Monday night, Johnson said what the club needed was an outstanding pitching performance.
"You could tell Cone had great stuff tonight because he got a lot of outs on 2-and-0 counts," Johnson said. "The hitters were waiting on fastballs on that count, and he came in with a fastball and they couldn't handle the pitch.
"This is a big win because our bullpen had been down. It's a tribute to Cone--an outstanding job by a young man."
Cone, who may not get many more starts with Dwight Gooden about ready to rejoin the team, gave the Mets just what they needed. And Reuss helped, too.
Atlanta 5, Montreal 2--Ubaldo Heredia, who was signed by the Dodgers in 1972, was making his major league debut at age 31. With the bases loaded in the second inning at Montreal, Atlanta pitcher Zane Smith delivered a three-run double to get a good start on his way to improving his record to 4-1.
In his debut, Heredia went four innings and gave up only one more run, a home run in the fourth by Ozzie Virgil.
Smith had a shutout until the seventh when he needed help from Jeff Dedmon, who held the Expos scoreless the last 2 innings.
Pittsburgh 12, San Diego 5--Barry Bonds went 3 for 4, including a three-run home run, at Pittsburgh as the Pirates pounded the hapless Padres (8-26).
Although he didn't pitch one of his better games, Rick Reuschel had an easy time improving his record to 2-2. He gave up nine hits in six innings but departed with a 7-4 lead.
Andy Hawkins (0-5) was given two runs in the first inning, but after Bonds' three-run homer in the second, he was behind to stay.
Houston 5, Philadelphia 2--Jose Cruz doubled home two runs in a four-run first inning at Houston that enabled the Astros to end a three-game losing streak.
Bob Knepper (2-2) gave up eight hits in six innings to register his first victory since April 12. Aurelio Lopez allowed only one hit in the last three innings to earn his first save.
St. Louis 6, San Francisco 5--Rookie left-hander Joe Magrane won his third straight decision and Curt Ford drove in three runs as the Cardinals beat the Giants at San Francisco.
Magrane (3-0) has allowed only six earned runs in 31 innings over four starts since being promoted from Louisville April 24. He gave up six hits, including a leadoff double to Bob Melvin and a single by Chris Speier in the ninth. Magrane then was replaced by Rick Horton, who gave up Will Clark's RBI single and Bob Brenly's pinch-hit three-run homer.