Norris shines in Dodgers debut, beats Rockies

July 2nd, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Bud Norris filled a Clayton Kershaw-sized hole in the Los Angeles rotation Friday night at Dodger Stadium, striking out eight in six scoreless innings to grab a 5-0 victory against Colorado.

Norris was making his Dodgers debut after being traded from the Braves for two Minor Leaguers on Thursday. As if the pressure of a debut with a new team wasn't enough, he was also stepping into Kershaw's spot in the rotation the day the Dodgers ace was placed on the DL.

"It's all an adrenaline rush. You really got to slow the game down as a pitcher, that's what they say first and foremost," Norris said. "Regardless of Clayton, I wish him well. We're going to get him back as quick as possible."

The right-hander responded better than the team could have reasonably hoped for, but he was pulled after the sixth inning, despite sitting at just 88 pitches. The Dodgers' bats started slowly against Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa, but accelerated as the game went on, securing Norris' win.

Though De La Rosa was strong across seven innings, it barely mattered as Charlie Blackmon was the only Colorado player to move the needle on an offense that struck out 12 times. The center fielder registered the team's sole extra-base hit and multi-hit game. Outside of Blackmon, the Rockies mustered one hit -- a single by Daniel Descalso who said Norris' recently added cutter has made a difference.

"He always threw a good, hard slider, but that cutter is something new he developed this year," Descalso said. "His last few outings have been pretty good with Atlanta, throwing a cutter."


Good enough: The Dodgers got all the offense they would need with a rally in the fourth inning, with Chase Utley and Corey Seager leading off with singles after three no-hit innings from De La Rosa. Seager's hit extended his hit streak to 14 games, a career high for the rookie and the longest active streak in the Majors. A single from Adrian Gonzalez scored Utley to put the Dodgers on the board.

"I think Adrian's really starting to swing the bat well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Got a couple days off in Pittsburgh, but physically, mentally, I think he feels fine. He's always been a streaky guy, but my confidence in him as a hitter to drive a run has never wavered."

Feeling the hurt, getting some help: Pitching with scant offensive support, De La Rosa kept it a one-run game until the seventh. But after two singles, a passed ball charged to Nick Hundley put runners at second and third. De La Rosa disputed the balk call -- apparently from not coming set in the stretch -- that forced a run across. However, left fielder Brandon Barnes saved a run by catching Trayce Thompson's fly ball and beating Yasiel Puig to the plate with an accurate throw.

De La Rosa remained upset after the game about plate umpire Will Little's balk call.

"That wasn't a balk -- I checked [video] and that wasn't a balk," De La Rosa said. "How am I going to be balking with runners at second and third? I don't have to hurry. I have to take my time. But they called it." More >

That'll do, Bud: Norris finished the sixth inning chugging along at 88 pitches, but Roberts decided that was all he needed from the newest Dodger. The manager instead called on the 'pen and got three shutout innings from the bullpen to preserve Norris' gem.

"I made the decision that 88 pitches was good," Roberts said. "We had a 'pen that was in good standing and I wanted him to finish with a really good taste in his mouth." More >

Not quite enough: The Rockies just missed on fly balls in the fifth and sixth innings. Barnes' two-out drive forced Thompson to make a leaping grab against the wall in center, 395 feet away. Blackmon doubled with one out in the sixth, but the inning fizzled with Cristhian Adames' lazy fly ball and a flyout from Nolan Arenado, who took his home run swing hit just beneath a Norris pitch and flied to left.

"It looked like Norris was in complete control," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We had a hard time getting baserunners, putting hits together."


Norris' 78 game score was the highest mark of the season for a Dodger not named Kershaw.


With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, Thompson was called safe at first after seemingly beating a throw from Adames. However, the Rockies challenged and the close call was overturned, negating a run for the Dodgers and ending a potentially lucrative inning.


In four games at Dodger Stadium this season, the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez -- who entered with a .329 batting average and 19 home runs overall -- is 1-for-15 with 11 strikeouts.


Rockies: The Rockies hope to return shortstop Trevor Story (bruised right middle finger) and second baseman DJ LeMahieu (left knee contusion) to the starting lineup, and will start righty Chad Bettis (6-5, 5.84 ERA) at Dodger Stadium on Saturday at 8:10 p.m. MT.

Dodgers: Despite a rocky path in his first year with the Dodgers, Scott Kazmir hasn't taken a loss since May 9. He'll try to improve from a month of June in which he yielded a 5.40 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.

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