Whenever someone snarkily says that Bud Norris' future is as a closer, point to this game. He may end up in the bullpen at some point in the future, but he's turned into a very nice back-of-the-rotation starter. He can eat innings. He can strike guys out. He can occasionally show flashes of brilliance.
That's what we got Thursday, as BudChuck struck out seven in six shutout innings, allowing two hits and three walks. It was the first time since a June 3 start against these Padres that Norris hasn't given up a run in a start. In fact, there have now been four games in his career when he left after throwing shutout ball. In the first two, he beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Now, he's turned his attention on San Diego. And his attention is a roundhouse kick to the groin.
As for The Shark (I really, really like the Liam Neeson comparison), he probably had his toughest assignment of the season. With one out and runners on the corners, he coaxed a force out at the plate from Orlando Hudson, saving a run. Melancon struck out two in 1 2/3 innings with one walk.
If I told you that Humberto Quintero and Michael Bourn figured into the only run, would you believe that Bourn was the one with the RBI and Q scored the run? Well, you probably would, since you know that's how the batting order usually sets up. But, it was still a bit improbable. Bourn also stole his fifth base of the season, while Jason Bourgeois stole his fourth. Say this for Brad Mills, he's getting a lot of use out of Bourg as the fifth outfielder.
Overall, a nice start to the series against San Diego and a nice way to forget some about that Cubs series. Onward and upward.