Padres Recap: Despite Norris’ Heroics, Padres Fall to Kershaw, Dodgers


The bases were loaded when Adrian Gonzalez stepped to the plate in the seventh inning, the Dodgers hoping to extend their 2-0 lead. With Clayton Kershaw on the hill for the Dodgers, one more run might just be enough to wrap up the game. San Diego Padres reliever Frank Garces had walked the previous two hitters, and had nowhere to put the Silver Slugger.

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Garces’ first offering to Gonzalez hit Derek Norris‘ glove right where he was set up – about six inches outside at the knees. Gonzalez laid off, but home plate umpire Doug Eddings called the pitch a strike. Gonzalez took umbrage. You didn’t have to be much of a lip reader to tell that he thought that was f’ing BS. He continued to gripe thoughout the AB, and when he finally grounded into an inning-ending double play, he said it over and over on his way back past Eddings. By the time we got back from the commercial break, Justin Turner was playing first base, and Gonzo had been tossed from the game.

This made a difference in the bottom half of the inning. Kershaw, after limiting the Padres to three hits through six innings despite not having his best stuff, gave up a one-out homer to shortstop Clint Barmes, cutting the Dodgers lead in half. One hitter later, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pulled Kershaw, who had thrown 117 pitches through 6.2 innings. Reliver Yimi Garcia stepped in, and Wil Myers hit a high popup that should have been the third out. But it was Turner playing first instead of the Gold Glover Gonzalez, and a miscommunication between Garcia and Turner resulted in Myers standing on second base with Derek Norris coming to the plate.

Norrisaurus Rex hit the first pitch into the Western Metal Supply Building, a line shot that may have dented the brick facade. In the course of six pitches, the Padres went from being shut out by Kershaw to leading the game 3-2. Norris, #ASGworthy indeed.

Alas, Dale Thayer came in and gave up double-single-single, and the game was tied at 3. And then, again, Norris made a big play. On the first pitch from Shawn Kelley, the catcher gunned the ball down to second, picking off Turner, who had strayed too far from the bag.  But again, the bullpen failed to grab the momentum that Norris had wrestled away from LA, and a walk and a single later, Kelley had yielded the Dodgers fourth run. 4-3 bad guys.

That score held up until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Kenley Jansen had just struck out Barmes and pinch-hitter Will Venable. Wil Myers, in his second game back from the disabled list, lined a single to center, bringing up, you guessed it, Derek Norris.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Norris couldn’t deliver this time, striking out to end the game.

But every Padres fan in the city was happy that Norris was the man at the plate in that situation. In spite of the result of that final at bat, Norris has established himself as a huge fan favorite. We love watching the intense, mohawked, brooding team leader, both at the plate and behind it. Norris is starting to remind me of Ken Caminiti in his attitude and his fiery demeanor on the field. It’s a privilege to watch him play the game.

I can’t wait to see what he does tomorrow.

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