If the Dodgers are looking for a right-handed pitcher at the trade deadline, they may need to look no further than right under their nose.
On a day that many experts described as Chris Archer's audition in Los Angeles, it was the "other" Dodgers pitcher they traded for that impressed.
Bud Norris threw seven shutout innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers hung on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2, on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
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"I don't know what's going to happen, but he's a great kid with a great arm," Norris said of Archer. "If something happens great, but as far as I'm concerned I love the group we have in here and want to go forward with the group we have."
After he was roughed up in Washington D.C. and in a relief role in St. Louis, Norris shined at Chavez Ravine on a night that all eyes were on the Rays' ace.
"The best of Bud Norris you still have yet to see," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said. "He wanted to be a Dodger and to give us a huge lift tonight was big."
Norris (6-9) allowed no runs on just two hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6 and 1/3 scoreless innings as he earned his third victory in a Dodger uniform since he was traded to LA on June 30th.
"After we got two runs on the board I got in a groove from there," Norris said of his start. "Once the ball leaves your hand it's out of your control. I made better pitches and got some defense behind me."
It was by far Norris' best start with his new club has he's posted a 3-2 record with a 4.40 ERA in six games with Dodgers this season.
"I absolutely love pitching here at Dodger Stadium," Norris said after he received a standing ovation for his performance when he exited the game in the seventh inning. "I've pitched well here and obviously I love pitching in front of this crowd."
Clutch hitting carried the Dodgers in the early innings as the boys in blue scored two runs on back-to-back RBI singles by Corey Seager and Justin Turner with two outs in the third inning.
"Earlier in the year we weren't able to find that big hit," Turner said of the clutch hitting. "I got a slider that he left up and was able to hit a line drive to left. It's all about capitalizing off of opportunities, earlier, we couldn't win those one-run games and now we're finding ways to win them."
Turner has 15 RBI since the All-Star break and is batting a whopping .400 with three doubles and five home runs over that span.
Yasmani Grandal tacked on what would turn out to be a crucial insurance run when he sent an Archer fastball into the Rays' bullpen in right field for his 14th home run of the season.
"Obviously that was a very important run," Grandal said. "It's a game of little things, and today it was a big thing. Being able to get that extra run there was huge."
Archer (5-14) would leave after the inning, allowing three runs (one earned) with four scattered hits and eight strikeouts in seven strong innings in his first career start against the Dodgers.
"I felt like it was a good outing, but we lost the game," Archer said following the loss. "I like the strikeouts, but I want to win more and that's all I care about right now."
Archer is a trade target for many teams in the league looking for starting pitcher and may have made his final start for Tampa Bay as the trade deadline is just four days away.
"There's a lot of things made of his track record with Andrew [Friedman] but for us, he was just another opposing pitcher," Roberts said of the trade rumors swirling around Archer. "I wouldn't say it was a try out tonight. He has a pretty good track record."
Joe Blanton nearly let the Rays back in the game as he allowed three straight hits to start the bottom of the eighth and Tampa Bay got within a run before Luis Avilan saved the day with a strikeout and an infield fly to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen ran into trouble in the ninth, but managed to escape the inning unscathed for his 30th save of the season. In doing so, jansen joined Todd Worrell and Eric Gagne as the only closers in franchise history with three 30-save seasons.
"It's not going the way I want it to go right now," Jansen said of his struggles on Tuesday and the past few games. "Sometimes you need to back off a little bit in order to get it back."
The victory put the Dodgers a season-high 13 games over .500 as they remain 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.
"We're playing good baseball right now," added Norris. "We're more worried about the name on the front than the name on the back. We have a good rhythm going and want to go out there every day and play hard."
Players of the Game:
Bud Norris: No runs on 2 hits with 6 strikeouts in 6.1 IP.
Yasmani Grandal: Home run.
Justin Turner: 2-for-4 with an RBI.
1. Grand Ol' Bud: Dodgers' pitcher Bud Norris became the 490th pitching in MLB history to record 1,000 strikeouts in his career on Tuesday night. The right-hander struck out six in 6.1 scoreless innings. "It means a lot to me and my family. It's a testament to how hard I've worked in my career."
2. Gotta Catch Em' All: Los Angeles Dodgers' catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot into the Rays' bullpen in the bottom of the seventh inning for his 14th home run of the year. Grandal's 14 long balls puts him in second in the NL for most home runs by a catcher, one behind Wilson Ramos who has 15.
3. Domo Arigato: It was Japan Night at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night and fans in attendance received a Kenta Maeda bobblehead.
Rays (38-61): Matt Moore heads to the mound on a Wednesday matinee at the Ravine.
Dodgers (57-44): Brandon McCarthy makes the start and looks to stay undefeated at 12:10 PM PST.
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