Mound issue contributes to Norris' uncomfortable outing

Right-hander allows six runs over 3 2/3 innings in loss to Reds

Mound issue contributes to Norris' uncomfortable outing

CINCINNATI -- For Dodgers starter Bud Norris, Friday's problems started before a batter even stepped into the box to face him.

After his second warmup pitch, Norris seemed uncomfortable on the mound, and signaled to have the grounds crew come out.

"I was on the first-base side and [Tim] Adleman was on the third-base side, and unfortunately a big piece of clay came out," Norris said after Friday's 9-2 loss to the Reds. "It happens, it's part of playing in the dirt. Kind of frustrating. Guys came out and fixed it and I tried to go from there."

Norris never settled down after that, putting the first two runners on before allowing a three-run homer to Reds first baseman Joey Votto before recording an out. Norris went on to allow six runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings, his second-shortest start of the season.

"They battled me early, big walk by [Billy] Hamilton and then a base hit and Votto put a good swing on a 3-2 pitch," Norris said. "I tried to … finish it from there, but unfortunately it didn't go my way. I got out of another jam in the first inning, but that fourth inning really escalated on me and really snowballed out of control."

If there's a silver lining for Norris in the start, it's that he came out healthy. Norris' shortest start of the season was his last one, in which he exited after 13 pitches with a back issue that landed him on the disabled list.

Friday's start, his first since the injury, left no lingering effects from the ailment.

"I felt good, felt good warming up and everything else, had my confidence and everything else," Norris said. "The back wasn't an issue."

Norris did actually have two good innings sandwiched between his three-run first and fourth innings. He retired all six batters he faced in the second and third innings with three strikeouts.

However, he allowed a two-out double to Adleman in the fourth, and was chased from the game three batters later when he walked Votto with the bases loaded.

"Bud's going to go out there and compete. Didn't feel his best, still competed," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "But the pitch count got up there and to give up another three spot in that inning, had to go get [Jesse Chavez] to go get us out of that."

With the frustrating start, it's no surprise that Norris also struggled with his emotions. At one point, catcher Yasmani Grandal had to tell him to calm down on the mound.

"I'm really trying to breathe, control my tempo and my emotions out there, it's just tough because in the heat of the moment," Norris said. "A little frustrating because I know what I'm capable of doing and tonight just didn't go my way."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.