Norris catches Blackley’s gem in MLB debut
Making his Major League debut against the Dodgers, the 23-year-old Norris was on the receiving end of 21 first-pitch strikes. Only once did he allow the left-handed Blackley to reach a three-ball count, along with just one 2-0 count.
“Everything was working,” Blackley said. “It was one of those days, you know?”
Together, the duo combined for eight superb innings of one-run ball, an efficient 87-pitch effort that included just three hits and culminated in a 4-1 A’s victory — topped by Yoenis Cespedes’ first career walk-off home run in the ninth — and a series sweep, the club’s second in the last week.
And while Cespedes’ dramatics made for a sexier headline, the effort displayed by the Blackley-Norris tandem, in opposition to Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, was equally deserving of praise. Kershaw also went eight innings, surrendering just one run.
“Any time you beat a guy like Kershaw after winning two and having your fifth starter match him pitch for pitch, once you get a guy out of the game, boy, you feel really good about your chances to win,” manager Bob Melvin said.