The Houston Astros have made a promise to the Cincinnati Reds and reliever Rob Dibble.

"I don't think this will be the end of this," Houston's Ken Caminiti said after the Astros beat the Reds 4-1 Thursday night.The loss knocked Cincinnati out of first place in the National League West for the first time in more than a year. And the Reds went down fighting.

Dibble gave up an RBI single to reliever Curt Schilling in his first major league at-bat to score the final Houston run in the ninth.

Dibble's next pitch, a fastball, sailed at least a foot behind Eric Yelding's back. The shortstop charged the mound, threw his batting helmet at Dibble's left shoulder, then took a swing that failed to connect. A pile of players then covered the mound and order was restored in about a minute.

"They should suspend the guy," Astros manager Art Howe said of Dibble, who was ejected along with Yelding. "He's head hunting. It's not safe for anybody out there. He has too much control to be throwing like that, and everybody knows it. It's a weak act, period."

Dibble, one of the Reds' three "Nasty Boys" relievers, lived up to his title when reporters approached for an explanation.

"I don't got nothing to say. Don't even come near my locker," he said, snarling. "Don't even bother."

The fight overshadowed a wild three-hitter by three Astros pitchers. Pete Harnisch (1-0) pitched five hitless innings but walked eight in his NL debut. Xavier Hernandez gave up two hits and Schilling finished with one-hit relief for the save.

Harnisch, who joined Schilling in moving to the Astros from Baltimore in a trade for Davis, walked four batters in the fourth to give Cincinnati its only run.

Mets 6, Expos 3

At New York, Wally Whitehurst marked his 27th birthday by pitching a career-high seven innings in his first win as a starter for Mets.

Whitehurst, who earned a spot in the rotation after Sid Fernandez fractured his left arm during spring training, allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one. John Franco, the third New York pitcher, got the final out for his second save.

Used in 38 relief apperances last year, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Whitehurst lost his only previous start, to Chicago on July 29, 1989.

Giants 11, Padres 9

At San Diego, Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell hit RBI singles in the 10th inning for San Francisco, which recovered after blowing a six-run lead.

The Padres tied it with two outs in the ninth on Marty Barrett's three-run, pinch-hit homer off Dave Righetti. It was Barrett's first at-bat for the Padres and Righetti's first appearance for the Giants, who led 8-2 in the sixth. Mitchell homered for the third straight game and Matt Williams and Robby Thompson homered for their first hits of the season for San Francisco.

Dodgers 4, Braves 2

At Atlanta, Ramon Martinez started his season with eight strong innings and Brett Butler had three hits as Los Angeles swept the rain-abbreviated two-game series.

Martinez, 20-6 last year and runner-up to Doug Drabek in the Cy Young voting, gave up one run on six hits, walked none and struck out four. He improved to 6-1 lifetime against the Braves.

Terry Pendleton homered in the second inning for the only run off Martinez. It was the first home run at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for Pendleton, signed as a free agent by the Braves.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 4

At Chicago, Lee Smith retired Shawon Dunston on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end the Cubs' two-run rally in the ninth.

The Cardinals led 5-1 before Dunston hit an RBI single in the eighth off Scott Terry. In the ninth, two walks by Smith and a single by Ryne Sandberg loaded the bases with one out.

Mark Grace, who homered earlier, hit a two-run single that made it 5-4 and put runners on first and second. After George Bell struck out, Andre Dawson got an infield single to load the bases. Smith got his second save of the season when Dunston hit a routine fly ball.

Ken Hill (1-0) allowed four hits in six innings. He took a 4-0 lead and a two-hitter into the sixth before Grace led off with a home run. Terry hit an RBI single in the eighth for a 5-1 edge.