The Dodgers kicked off their longest home stand of the year with a win against the Rockies as Bud Norris shined in his Dodger debut.
There was no doubt when the Dodgers signed Norris the other day it was not the most exciting news, but when your ace is hurt, you have to do something. Norris is pretty much an “average” pitcher. As Alex pointed out in his preview, Norris has not put up an ERA lower than 3.65 in a season throughout his career. So I guess you could say, the bar was not set too high for Norris. The Dodgers were just looking for a starter to fill in Clayton Kershaw’s spot and join the rotation until the remaining Dodger starters get healthy. Norris shined tonight in his first game with the boys in blue. He pitched six innings, struck out eight, walked one and only allowed two hits. I mean, come on. This guy joined the Dodgers just a few days ago and totally stepped up and exceeded all expectations. Norris was fantastic and to know that he has this ability in him only makes the Dodgers look even smarter that they signed him. He also got the W tonight, which he greatly deserved for his six innings of beauty.
The Dodgers scored five tonight and were able to shut the Rockies out. The Dodgers would score their first run in the fourth inning. Chase Utley led off with a walk and then Corey Seager singled. Adrian Gonzalez came up to the plate with one out and singled to right which would score Utley. From then on the Dodgers would add four more insurance runs. The lead was expanded to two in the seventh when Howie Kendrick led off with a single, Yasiel Puig singled and then Kendrick was able to score on a pass ball. Trayce Thompson followed that up with a fly out and Puuig tried to score on the play. He was tagged out at game and had to be removed from the game. Dave Roberts explained that Puig felt something in his left shoulder after he dove head first into home, but in the locker room following the game Puig said both his shoulder and knee are fine. I guess we will find out any further updates on Puig tomorrow. The Dodgers need another starter to go on the DL like a hole in the head.
The Dodgers offense scored their final three runs of the game in the eighth inning. With one out Seager singled to right and Justin Turner doubled to deep left right after that. Turners double bounced on the warning track, but it look like it was gone most of the way there. Gonzalez kept the rally going when he singled and Seager scored. After a quick pitching change, Kendrick doubled in Turner and Gonzo would score on Scott Van Slyke’s sacrifice fly.
Pedro Baez entered the game for the top of the ninth inning. Two strike outs, a walk and a ground out later and it was official, the Dodgers had added to the win column.
All in all it was a good game for the Dodgers. Norris exceeded all expectations and rose to the occasion, while the offense woke up and was able to pull out a shutout victory against the Rockies. The Giants beat the Diamondbacks tonight so even with tonight’s victory the Dodgers still sit in second place by six games in the NL West.
Game two of the series is tomorrow as Scott Kazmir heads to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.